strategy

Evaluating monitoring systems for health effects of climate change

Description:
The development and evaluation of monitoring systems for the collection and assessment of information on changes in environmental indicators, bio-indicators of health risk, and population health status, for climate change, including liaison with global monitoring activities.
Context:
Monitoring systems are currently being developed for climate (the Global Climate Observing System), oceans (the Global Oceanic Observing System) and land surface (the Global Terrestrial Observing System). These systems will coordinate measurement of a range of variables relevant to climate change and its impacts, but they lack indicators related to human health.
Implementation:
Government action to mitigate the health effects of climate change may include making more effective use of weather and climate forecasting systems to alert the general public and health authorities; improving the surveillance of relevant diseases, in order to detect significant changes and orient public health responses; and providing the public with information about the behaviour they can adopt to prevent some of the adverse health effects.

A commonly-used pressure index relevant for climate change is total greenhouse gas emissions. The index is the weighted summation of five gases that contribute to global warming: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrogen oxides (NOx), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halons. The theoretical foundation for the weights used in the index is strong, since the weights are based on the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of each gas. One tonne of CO2, for instance, has a GWP of 1, while the other gases are known to be larger contributors to global warming, per unit weight. Multiplying the annual emissions of each gas by its GWP, transforms the emissions into CO2 equivalents (Ceq), and then these amounts are summed across the gases to produce the index.

Problems:

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 13: Climate Action