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Climate change-related health cost high

Nov. 10, 2011 at 8:58 PM

NEW YORK, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Climate change-related Health costs from 2000 to 2009 exceeded $14 billion, with 95 percent of the cost due to lives lost prematurely, U.S. researchers say.

Kim Knowlton and Miriam Rotkin-Ellman of the Natural Resources Defense Council in New York and colleagues Wendy Max and Gina M. Solomon, both of the University of California, San Francisco, and Linda Geballe, a student at Boalt Law School, at the University of California, Berkeley, said the actual healthcare costs were an estimated $740 million.

"This reflects more than 760,000 encounters with the healthcare system," the researchers said in a study. "Our analysis provides scientists and policy makers with a methodology to use in estimating future health costs related to climate change and highlights the growing need for public health preparedness."

The future health costs associated with predicted climate change -- related events such as hurricanes, heat waves and floods are projected to be enormous, the researchers concluded in the journal Health Affairs.

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