185658 Mediating health impacts of climate change: Evidence from regressions and CGE modeling of forest conservation in Brazil

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 1:30 PM

Martin T. Ross, PhD , Public Health and Environment, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Subhrendu K. Pattanayak, PhD , Public Policy; Environment; & Global Health, Duke University, Durham, NC
Brooks M. Depro, MS , Public Health and Environment, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC
Simone C. Bauch, MS , Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Christopher Timmins, PhD , Department of Economics, Duke University, Durham, NC
Keith Alger, PhD , Center for Applied Biodiversity Sciences, Conservation International, Arlington, VA
Kelly Jones Wendland, MS , Applied and Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Ecosystem degradation can be excessive if data on ecosystem values are unreliable. We illustrate how econometric estimation is combined with computable general equilibrium (CGE) modeling to estimate ecosystem values due to reduced disease impacts of climate change. Our case study is developed against a backdrop of (a) moderate IPCC warming scenario with temperature increase of 2˚C and rainfall fluctuations of ± 15%, and (b) government policy to expand its National Forests (FLONAS) by 50 million hectares. First, we conduct regression analysis of data on 484 Brazilian micro-regions to find that (1) hotter and wetter climate will increase rates of dengue, malaria, cardio vascular and respiratory diseases, and (2) communities near protected areas in the Amazon will experience lower malaria and dengue. Regression parameters allow us to project changes in the labor stock because of climate change (1% decline) and conservation (1.5% increase). Given these profound changes to the environment (50M ha) and the economy (1-2% labor stock), we estimate macroeconomic impacts by using a dynamic global CGE model comprising of 5 regions, 3 land using agricultural sectors (where land is divided into 18 agro-ecological zones) and 9 other sectors. Contrasted with a “no action baseline” where climate changes and deforestation cause diseases, the FLONAS scenario results in lower GDP ($2 billion less) and rural wages (2%), largely because the health benefits are offset by income loss. Unless compensation programs such as REDD are implemented, we stand to forgo ecosystem conservation and its associated public health benefits.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss how ecosystem destruction can be excessive if public health benefits are ignored. We contend that there is insufficient ecosystem protection because ecosystem services are public goods, ecosystem management involves externalities and ecosystems are often the only capital of the poor who have no money or political voice. These features also complicate efforts to develop credible estimates of ecosystem values (e.g., environmental health benefits) because of limitations of appropriately scaled the data and internally consistent methods. 2. Provide a concrete ‘proof of concept’ by adapting a global computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, the workhorse of macro-economic modeling. Use regression analysis of Brazilian data to generate parameters for CGE model on impacts of climate change and conservation on disease outcomes. 3. Use the backdrop of climate change and biodiversity conservation in Brazil to present the case for multi-disciplinary integrated simulation modeling to develop a comprehensive picture of a range of policies (inside and outside the sector) that have critical health consequences.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I helped conceive the research plan, design the model and execute the analysis.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.