Health costs of wildfire smoke to rise under climate change
npj Climate and Atmospheric Science
The global health burden from wildfire smoke is expected to worsen under climate change, yet we lack quantitative estimates of the economic costs of increased mortality and hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Using a quantitative wildfire risk assessment framework and a 12-member climate model ensemble, we find a median increase in wildfire smoke health costs of 1–16% by 2070 across diverse landscapes in south-eastern Australia. Ensemble maximum cost increases (5–38%) often exceed abatements from fuel treatment, while costs decline moderately (0–7%) for the ensemble minimum. Unmitigated climate change will increase the health burden of wildfire smoke and undermine prescribed burning effectiveness.
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Westpac Scholars Trust