EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Challenges and opportunities for detection and attribution of climate change impacts on health

Felipe J Colón-González, Isabel Fletcher, Grace Annan-Callcott, and Bilal Mateen
Felipe J Colón-González et al.
  • Wellcome Trust, London

There are valid concerns as to whether climate change has influenced the observed shifts in the spatial range, frequency, intensity, and duration of some health hazards. In a few cases, it has been possible to quantify the extent of this influence. However, current research is limited to a small number of health hazards and a handful of geographical areas, primarily in high income countries. This situation negatively affects the credibility of the mitigation policy arguments and constrains our ability to communicate with relevant stakeholders who might see climate impacts on health as distant in time, geography, or social cohort.  

Attribution science could be used to strengthen the evidence on how some types of health events have changed and how they are expected to change due to climate change. This evidence could be used as a case for limiting warming before irreversible changes occur. It will also be useful to inform adaptation strategies and increase the likelihood that policymakers will implement their announced climate change pledges and policies in a timely manner. 

Given its relatively new application to health, there are no clear best methods, sets of assumptions, or comprehensive data sets that could be used to attribute climate impacts on health. Also, the tools and methods for attributing climate impacts on health that exist in the literature tend to be created locally by a handful of institutions for a narrow use case and are often not easily reproducible.  Here, we present a funding organisation perspective on how we can start addressing some of the challenges on the D&A space.

How to cite: Colón-González, F. J., Fletcher, I., Annan-Callcott, G., and Mateen, B.: Challenges and opportunities for detection and attribution of climate change impacts on health, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-17514,, 2023.