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HEIMTSA - common case

HEIMTSA aimed at developing a new methodology for assessing the effect of policies on both environment and citizens’ health. A policy-based case study scenario was considered for validating this methodology: an analysis of the future health impacts of climate policies in Europe. Since the aim of this work was found to fit to the INTARESE general objective, it was carried out as a common case study.

The study involved predictions of health impacts depending on changes in the levels of air pollutants (particulate matter with size lower than2.5 micrometers, radon, mould and VOCs), multipathway pollutants (POPs), pesticides, noise and heat. The adopted methodology was the approach of the Integrated Environmental Health Impact Assessment (IEHIA) System , developed in both projects. In this case the baseline was a Business as Usual (BAU) 2005 scenario, with current trends and policies. This scenario was translated to years 2010, 2020, 2030 and 2050, assuming that no additional political measure for avoiding climate change was adopted. In parallel, an alternative scenario (policy scenario), where several climate change policies were adopted, has been developed for these future years. These policies were, for example, the 2008 climate and energy package. To obtain the effect of target policies, both scenarios (policy and BAU) were compared for every future year.

Results have shown that, among the pollutants which have been studied, fine particles, noise and radon are the most harmful compounds, whereas ozone, dioxins and heat waves have been considered to cause low damage. Outdoor air pollutants, on the other hand, have a large economic effect, since the avoided damage costs are 20-40% of the savings due to greenhouse gases reduction.

Thanks to this study, climate change has been demonstrated to be important not only from the environmental point of view but also because of its health impact. Thus, an integrated approach should be taken when climate change policies are adopted, in order to take both effects into account for managing risks. Although most of the climate change policies are beneficial (e.g. replacing oil and coal with renewable energy sources), other policies such as biomass combustion and reduction of air exchange rates in buildings have been proved to produce several health impacts. In this case, pollutants like radon and environmental tobacco smoke can be accumulated and cause different health effects.


Source:
Health and Environment Integrated Methodology and Toolbox for Scenario Assessment; Health and environment integrated methodology and toolbox for scenario assessment. Final periodic Report.