It’s nearly 20 years since Peter Clinch & John D. Healy published this paper on the Cost-benefit analysis of domestic energy efficiency but their conclusions that spending some money on insulating all our houses would pay back in reducing the cost of health still holds true, particularly when our health spending continues to increase at the same time as we continue to burn far too much climate changing fossil fuels.
The minister for health has opened a public consultation on climate change and it’s impact on the health services. (See details here). I will be making a submission drawing from ideas like the above.
Currently the weather affects our health, and especially the health of people with chronic diseases. In winter we see more of our people who have long term lung /breathing related diseases, admitted into hospital. Arthritis and heart conditions also get worse. This is why for a number of years there have been attempts at “winter initiatives” in our hospitals. As weather gets more extreme with climate change these problems can only get worse.
Many diseases are associated with pollution from traffic, industry and domestic fuels. Even preterm births have been linked to pollution (see link) These all need to be tackled in our communities if we are to reduce the impact on our health services.
Even the money spent on public transport initiatives and cycling infrastructure will get more people out of their cars, improving their health in the process.