Efforts to stem greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide are well short of what is required to prevent drastic climate change in the near future. One way to encourage the necessary policy decisions is to show the link between climate mitigation efforts and human health. To achieve this, the EU-funded PURGE (Public health impacts in urban environments of greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies) project used modelling and economic analysis to predict the human health effects of climate mitigation policy. The project used these approaches to conduct simulated case studies on eight Asian and European cities. The cities studied were London and Milton Keynes (UK), Belgrade and Nis (Serbia), Beijing and Wuxi (China), and Delhi and Vishakhapatnam (India). PURGE found that policies to increase active travel (walking and cycling) while improving vehicle emissions would decrease GHG emissions and greatly improve health. Likewise, improving energy efficiency for housing will have the same dual effect. Researchers also showed that comparatively modest changes to European diets could have an appreciable impact on GHG emissions. However, to achieve a decrease in GHG emissions greater than 30 to 40 % would require substantial changes to urban diets. Finally, the project showed the importance for climate mitigation and health of the development of on renewable energy sources and nuclear power. Project findings provide an additional motivation for policy action to mitigate climate change. The evidence that PURGE presents will be useful in arguments for said policy changes.
Climate change, greenhouse gas, public health, urban environments, emissions reduction