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Cause of death variation under the shared socioeconomic pathways

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Climatic Change


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Pardee Center for International Futures


Samuel Sellers

August 23, 2020

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Sellers, S. (2020). Cause of death variation under the shared socioeconomic pathways. Climatic Change. doi:10.1007/s10584-020-02824-0

Climate change will create numerous risks for human health, including impacts associated with temperature extremes, diarrheal diseases, and undernutrition. Such risks, along with other socioeconomic and development trends, will affect cause-of-death patterns experienced in the coming decades. This study explores future mortality trends using the shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP) framework, a widely utilized tool for understanding socioeconomic development trends in a world with climate change. Existing projections for GDP, urbanization, and demographic trends based on SSP narratives are incorporated into an integrated assessment model, International Futures (IFs), in order to project mortality levels by cause of death for all countries from 2020 to 2100. Under more optimistic SSPs, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) rise as a proportion of all deaths, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, while more pessimistic SSPs suggest a continued high burden of largely preventable communicable diseases. In highincome countries, significant continued burdens of NCDs are projected for the remainder of the century under all SSPs. Comparisons are also made to recent cause-of-death projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) to assess how the IFs and IHME models vary.

Keywords: Climate Change