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Climate change and health: A special issue in PLOS Medicine

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IMAGE: This week, the first papers in PLOS Medicine's Special Issue on Climate Change and Health are being published. view more 

Credit: Akuppa John Wigham,UK Department for International Development, California National Guard

This week, we see the first papers in PLOS Medicine's Special Issue on Climate Change and Health being published, advised by Guest Editors Jonathan Patz, the Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the John P. Holton Chair in Health and the Environment with appointments in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Population Health Sciences, USA and Madeleine Thomson, a Senior Research Scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and Senior Scholar at the Mailman School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University, New York, USA.

In a research article, Christopher Weyant of Stanford University, USA and colleagues predict reduced crop nutritional content and subsequent health disparities due to increased carbon dioxide levels associated with climate change. In their country-level modelling study, the authors incorporate estimates of climate change, crop nutrient concentrations, dietary patterns and disease risk into a model of iron and zinc deficiency. Their estimates predict a disease burden of approximately 125.8 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) globally over the period from 2015 to 2050, disproportionately affecting South-East Asian and sub-Saharan African countries.

In a Perspective article, Kristie Ebi of the University of Washington, USA and Lewis Ziska of the Department of Agriculture-ARS, Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory, Mississippi, USA continue the theme of crop nutrition in a changing climate and how rising carbon dioxide concentrations and climate change are expected to decrease the quality, quantity, and availability of rice, wheat, potatoes and other staple crops. They outline major knowledge gaps and investments needed to protect population health, particularly among the most vulnerable.

Turning to the effects of climate change on demands for increased air conditioning, a primary adaptation to climate change, David Abel of the University of Wisconsin Madison, USA and colleagues predict future mortality associated with increased emissions from power plants caused by demand for air conditioning. Their modelling study considers different climate increases with or without adaptation. They predict increases of 4.8% and 8.7% respectively for particulate- and ozone-associated deaths above climate change impacts alone. Policy advisors and building planners may need to consider energy conservation, building design and other measures to tackle future dependence on buildings' cooling systems.

China is the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter and the most populated country, and its population structure is undergoing change and aging. In a study looking at ozone emissions and population change projections, Patrick Kinney of Boston University, USA and Kai Chen of Helmholtz Institute, Munich, Germany show future changes in ozone-related acute mortality from 2013-2015 to 2053-2055 under different climate and population change scenarios in 104 cities across China. Climate change and an aging population may lead to increases of 1-4 fold for ozone-related deaths in 2053-2055. Mitigation policies are urgently needed.

The Special Issue will provide a venue for data-rich research focused on climate-related impacts, adaptation and mitigation, with research and discussion articles appearing over the next few weeks.

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Research Article--Weyant et al

Funding:

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health (https://www.nimhd.nih.gov) under Award Numbers DP2MD010478 (SB), and U54MD010724 (EB, SB). CW was supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship (https://www.nsf.gov, DGE-114747), and MB and EB were supported by a grant from the Woods Institute Environmental Ventures Program at Stanford University (https://woods.stanford.edu). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests:

I have read the journal's policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: SB receives a stipend as a specialty consulting editor for PLOS Medicine and serves on the journal's editorial board.

Citation:

Weyant C, Brandeau ML, Burke M, Lobell DB, Bendavid E, Basu S (2018) Anticipated burden and mitigation of carbon-dioxide-induced nutritional deficiencies and related diseases: A simulation modeling study. PLoS Med 15(7): e1002586. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002586

Image Credits: Akuppa John Wigham, Flickr; UK Department for International Development, Flickr; California National Guard, Flickr

Author Affiliations:

Department of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

Department of Earth System Science, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

Center on Food Security and the Environment, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

Center for Primary Care and Outcomes, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

Center for Population Health Sciences, Stanford, California, United States of America

Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America

Center for Primary Care, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002586

Research Article--Abel et al

Funding:

This study was conducted with support from the National Institutes of Health Grant 1R21ES020232-01 received by TH, MH, PM, DA, VSL, and JAP. This study was also supported by the George Bunn Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in Energy Analysis and Policy (DA) and the Wes and Ankie Foell Graduate Award in Energy Analysis and Policy (DA). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests:

I have read the journal's policy and the authors of this manuscript have the following competing interests: PM has an ownership interest in the MyPower model used to generate power plant emissions estimates for this study. The data from this study are publicly available. JAP served as a Guest Editor on PLOS Medicine's Special Issue on Climate Change and Health.

Citation:

Abel DW, Holloway T, Harkey M, Meier P, Ahl D, Limaye VS, et al. (2018) Air-quality-related health impacts from climate change and from adaptation of cooling demand for buildings in the eastern United States: An interdisciplinary modeling study. PLoS Med 15(7): e1002599. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002599

Author Affiliations:

Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

Wisconsin Energy Institute (WEI), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

Blumont, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

Seventhwave, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

Global Health Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002599

Research Article--Kinney et al

Funding:

JB is funded by the China National Key Research & Development Program from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2016YFC0207603; http://www.most.gov.cn/) and by the China National Natural Science Foundation (71433007; http://www.nsfc.gov.cn). KC gratefully acknowledges support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for the Humboldt Research Fellowship (https://www.humboldt-foundation.de). AF acknowledges support from US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) STAR grant (83520601; https://www.epa.gov). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the grantee and do not necessarily represent the official view of the EPA. PK is supported by a Center grant from the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (ES009089) and by NIEHS training grant (T32ES023770; https://www.niehs.nih.gov). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests:

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation:

Chen K, Fiore AM, Chen R, Jiang L, Jones B, Schneider A, et al. (2018) Future ozone-related acute excess mortality under climate and population change scenarios in China: A modeling study. PLoS Med 15(7): e1002598. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002598

Author Affiliations:

State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, School of the Environment, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

Institute of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum München, Neuherberg, Germany

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, New York, United States of America

Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention, Shanghai, China

School of Public Health, Key Laboratory of Public Health Safety of the Ministry of Education and Key Laboratory of Health Technology Assessment of the Ministry of Health, Fudan University, Shanghai, China

Asian Demographic Research Institute, School of Sociology and Political Science, Shanghai University, Shanghai, China

National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado, United States of America

CUNY Institute for Demographic Research, Baruch College, New York, New York, United States of America

Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002598

Perspective--Ebi et al

Funding:

The authors received no specific funding for this work.

Competing Interests:

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Citation:

Ebi KL, Ziska LH (2018) Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide: Anticipated negative effects on food quality. PLoS Med 15(7): e1002600. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002600

Author Affiliations:

Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, United States of America Adaptive Cropping Systems Laboratory, Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Mississippi, United States of America

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper: http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002600

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