Quantification of the Impact of Climate Change on Water-, Sanitation-, and Hygiene-Attributable Disease in China Open Access

Hodges, Maggie McQueen (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/2b88qc76x?locale=en


OBJECTIVE: Climate change can impact the burden of water, sanitation, and hygiene- attributable (WASH) disease, and this impact is expected to be particularly significant in regions such as China, with greater than 450 million cases of diarrhea attributable to unsafe water and sanitation annually. The purpose of this study was to estimate the impact of climate change on WASH disease for China in 2020 and 2030.

METHODS: The World Health Organization's Comparative Risk Assessment (CRA) methodology and other previously described methods for projecting climate sensitive disease burdens were used to project WASH disease burdens. Using unique baseline data produced by Carlton et al (2012), literature-derived rate ratios linking climatic variables and WASH disease incidence were applied to estimate future IRs of WASH disease in China. Projections of temperature from the HadGEM2-ES global circulation model, as well as province-specific rates of urbanization, infrastructure improvement, and population growth, were used to generate population-based estimates of the incidence rate for WASH disease in China, for the years 2020 and 2030.

RESULTS: Output from the HadGEM2-ES global climate model indicated that China is anticipated to warm 0.22 ° C by 2020 and 0.82 ° C by 2030, under RCP 2.6. Under RCP 8.5, China is expected to experience a slight overall cooling of 0.0015 ° C by 2020 and a general warming of 0.99 ° C by 2030. Urbanization, improvements in water and sanitation infrastructure, and the demographic transition will cause the overall incidence rate (IR) of diarrheal disease in China to decrease. However, climate change has the potential to slow this decrease, resulting in a delayed achievement of the previously predicted lower IR, a delay of greater than 2 years for a scenario consistent with linear increase in water and sanitation access. The IR of vector-borne disease (malaria, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis) is similarly impacted by climate change, with the potential delay ranging from 3 to 13 years.

DISCUSSION: Climate change-attributable increase in water and sanitation-attributable disease has the potential to delay the developmental advantage afforded by improvements to water and sanitation infrastructure by greater than 2 years, strengthening the call for increased mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Methods 4

Data sources 4

Identification of climate sensitive health outcomes and literature review 5

Quantitative estimation of climate-health relationships 6

Definition of exposure scenarios 8

Estimation of the climate change attributable burden of disease 9

Sensitivity analyses 11

Results 12

Literature review and quantitative estimation of climate-health relationships 12

Estimation of the climate change-attributable burden of disease 13

Sensitivity analyses 16

Discussion 17

Conclusion 23

Tables and Figures 26

Appendix 33

References 44

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