A Panel Asymmetric Causality Between Health and Climate Change: Empirical Evidence From EU Regions

A Panel Asymmetric Causality Between Health and Climate Change: Empirical Evidence From EU Regions

Reyhan Cafri (Iskenderun Technical University, Turkey) and Pınar Kaya Samut (Atılım University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7635-8.ch011


As climate change threatens human life and health by causing severe storms, floods, temperature fluctuations and droughts, it is predicted that in the coming decades, most of the global population will be impacted and the lives of millions will be at risk. In this context, the article investigates the existence of a symmetric and asymmetric causality between climate change and health between 1990 and 2015 for European countries, including EU, EFTA member and EU candidate states. In the first stage of the analysis, health scores are estimated by cluster and discriminant analyses; in the second stage, the relationships among these scores and climate variables are examined. The country-specific findings are obtained for the health effects of climate change variables according to factors such as geographical structure and seasonal characteristics. According to the results, while the health effects of changes in temperature and greenhouse emissions differ from country to country, the reduction in precipitation for nearly half of the countries is found to have a negative effect on health.
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The adverse effects of the increasing world population and, consequently, increased human activity, in the environment have together caused global climate change, which has great ramifications for present and future generations. According to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (2014), climate change is defined as the change in the normal temperature in a given period of time, or in the amount of rain in a year. With the industrial revolution, increase in the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and rising air pollution caused the world's average temperature to increase and rainfall patterns to change. Subsequently, an increasing trade volume through globalization continues to force countries to increase production, causing environmental pollution. As a result, this has become a factor included in all literature which addresses accelerating climate change (Idso & Idso, 2001; Vitousek, Mooney, Lubchenco, & Melillo, 1997; Zachos & Dickens, 2008). Due to damages as a result of global climate change, studies on the social and economic effects of this subject have started to draw attention. The fact that climate change threatens both present and future generations has raised a number of concerns. For this reason, this issue has been intensively discussed in national and international platforms. The concepts of growth and development, being previously among the main targets of economies, have been replaced by sustainable growth and development, and intensive studies have been initiated to improve the adaptation and resistance of a sustainable environment to climate change (Swart, Robinson, & Cohen, 2003; Soubbotina, 2004).

The concept of sustainability was introduced by the United Nations Environment and Development Commission’s “Common Future” report published in 1987. According to this report, humanity has the capability of sustaining development by ensuring its daily needs, without jeopardizing the ability to respond to the future generations’ needs (Brundtland, 1987). Besides this, sustainability is defined as ensuring the continuity of the diversity and productivity of biological systems according to the science of ecology. Climate change and disaster risk for sustainable improvement of life for future generations among sustainable development goals have been considered as one of the areas to be focused on mainly within the scope of strategic planning.

Climate change has environmental and socio-economic problems as well as direct and indirect effects on human life. These effects are caused by hot/cold air waves, air pollution, and allergens. On the other hand, the indirect effects of climate change, as a result of changes in the ecosystem, cause vectors to multiply or change in the habitat, resulting in infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS. In addition, diseases such as dysentery, cholera, and typhoid are diseases that are indirectly caused by climate change. Besides, natural disasters such as rising water levels as a result of melting glaciers and hurricanes cause injuries and deaths. Moreover, these natural disasters can cause loss of production and hunger by deepening poverty due to economic loss. It is also stated that extreme weather affects people physically and weakens their psychological health (McMichael, 2013; Patz, Campbell-Lendrum, Holloway, & Foley, 2005; WHO, 2012).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Cluster Analyses: A multivariate statistical analysis method that groups individuals or objects according to their common characteristics.

Cross-Section Dependence: The situation of a shock coming from a horizontal section that affects other horizontal sections as well.

Renewable Energy: The energy continuously obtainable from the sources in nature, such as the wind and the sun.

Sanitation: Measures taken to maintain hygiene and healthy environment.

Discriminant Analyses: A multivariate statistical method which is used to identify the factors that differentiate two or more pre-classified groups by estimating a function.

Unit Root Test: A test for determining whether the mean, variance and covariance of a time series are independent of time.

Causality: To give statistically significant information on a time series values about the future values of another time series.

Vectors: The living creatures which reserve and carry organisms that cause the diseases without harming the carrier.

Sustainable Development: Without harming natural resources, to ensure economic growth by protecting the environment and fight against poverty.

Ecosystem: Interactions between living things and the inanimate environment surrounding them.

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