Investing in public health policies aligning with climate change mitigation measures is financially beneficial and crucial for human and planetary health. These policies encompass tackling air pollution, promoting healthier diets, encouraging active lifestyles, and creating greener urban landscapes. Air pollution, primarily from fossil fuels, accounts for one in five deaths globally, and addressing this issue has proven cost-effective in Europe.
Furthermore, public transport can benefit climate health by promoting active lifestyles and reducing traffic-related matters. However, improvements are needed to make it more accessible. The urban heat island effect calls for a focus on healthy urban planning, including incorporating green spaces. Investments in agriculture and diet can lead to health improvements and reduce emissions.
Transitioning to such policies needs a broader healthcare conception, health systems transformation, collaboration, and investments across various sectors. Policymakers must choose among price-based, regulation-based, or behavioral policy instruments, considering distributional implications to optimize policies. The urgency of climate action necessitates economists, health workers, and policy specialists to work together and provide solid evidence of the health and economic gains from such investments.
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[Source: The BMJ, October 4th, 2023]