The frequency and severity of extreme events is expected to increase under climate change. There is a need to understand the economic consequences of human exposure to these extreme events, to underpin decisions on risk reduction. We undertook a scoping review of economic evaluations of the adverse health effects from exposure to weather-related extreme events. We searched PubMed, Embase and Web of Science databases with no restrictions to the type of evaluations. Twenty studies were included, most of which were recently published. Most studies have been undertaken in the U.S. (nine studies) or Asia (seven studies), whereas we found no studies in Africa, Central and Latin America nor the Middle East. Extreme temperatures accounted for more than a third of the pool of studies (seven studies), closely followed by flooding (six studies). No economic study was found on drought. Whilst studies were heterogeneous in terms of objectives and methodology, they clearly indicate that extreme events will become a pressing public health issue with strong welfare and distributional implications. The current body of evidence, however, provides little information to support decisions on the allocation of scarce resources between risk reduction options. In particular, the review highlights a significant lack of research attention to the potential cost-effectiveness of interventions that exploit the capacity of natural ecosystems to reduce our exposure to, or ameliorate the consequences of, extreme events.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited