The objective of this study is to analyze the role of residential energy prices in the temperaturemortality relationship in European cities. The detrimental effect of extreme temperatures on excess mortality is well recognized in the literature (Analitis et al., 2008; Deschênes, 2012; Gasparrini et al., 2015). Studies focusing both on United States and Europe show that, although mortality risk associated to extreme temperature exposure has been declining in the last decades, it remains significant as temperatures continue to increase because of climate change (Davis et al., 2003; De Donato et al., 2015; Barreca et al., 2016). Strong mitigation actions as well as the ability to adapt to temperature extremes represent crucial aspects in the climate change-human health relationship. However, tradeoffs may emerge as emission reduction policies, aimed at slowing down long-term temperature rise, may lead to an increase in energy prices and, consequently, in the marginal costs of adaptation. Households that spend higher portion of their income on energy bills, both for keeping their home warm in winter or cool it during the summer, may, indeed, have a reduced capacity to adapt to temperature variations due to climate changes (De Cian et al., 2019). Despite being connected, the two drivers (temperature and prices) have mainly been analyzed separately. Novel studies started to investigate empirically the direct impact of energy prices on temperature-related mortality and they find that changes in gas or electricity prices play a role in exacerbating or mediating excess mortality especially for vulnerable households (Chirakijja et al. 2019, Neidell et al. 2019).We aim at contributing to understand the extent of the issue in the European area. For this purpose, we match climate data, natural gas and electricity prices and mortality information for 280 European urban areas between 1990 and 2017. Our sample covers about 308 million citizens representing 60% of total European population. We use a panel regression model with year and city fixed effect. We build on previous literature (Deschênes and Greenstone 2011, Barreca et al. 2016) to construct annual bins to approximate the distribution of daily temperatures and model the estimate mortality response. We extend this approach adding the interaction between extreme temperature bins and energy prices. We then use the results of the empirical analysis to simulate the future combined impacts of temperatures and energy prices on mortality rate under different climate policy scenarios. Our results show a significant effect on mortality for every additional day with temperatures below -4°C (24°F) in winter and above 26°C (78°F) in summer. Moreover, the energy prices played a role in the temperature-mortality relation. The interaction between extreme cold temperatures and both natural gas and electricity prices have positive sign and statistically significant effect. Simulations at 2040 show that the benefits in terms of reduced mortality of emission mitigation policy may be reversed by the energy price effect. Considering the interaction of temperature and energy prices, the aggregate annual mortality rate of European cities under a RCP4.5 scenario would be 1% higher compared to a scenario with limited mitigation policy. Greater potential tradeoffs emerge for more ambitious climate policies, such as those in line with 2°C. Our study offers important insights on the potential interaction between climate change impacts, mitigation policies and autonomous adaptation strategies. Our findings stress the importance of climate and social policy design aimed at addressing public health impacts arising from both changes in temperature and energy prices

Temperature and energy price's impact on mortality in European cities

Marinella Davide
;
Enrica De Cian
2021

Abstract

The objective of this study is to analyze the role of residential energy prices in the temperaturemortality relationship in European cities. The detrimental effect of extreme temperatures on excess mortality is well recognized in the literature (Analitis et al., 2008; Deschênes, 2012; Gasparrini et al., 2015). Studies focusing both on United States and Europe show that, although mortality risk associated to extreme temperature exposure has been declining in the last decades, it remains significant as temperatures continue to increase because of climate change (Davis et al., 2003; De Donato et al., 2015; Barreca et al., 2016). Strong mitigation actions as well as the ability to adapt to temperature extremes represent crucial aspects in the climate change-human health relationship. However, tradeoffs may emerge as emission reduction policies, aimed at slowing down long-term temperature rise, may lead to an increase in energy prices and, consequently, in the marginal costs of adaptation. Households that spend higher portion of their income on energy bills, both for keeping their home warm in winter or cool it during the summer, may, indeed, have a reduced capacity to adapt to temperature variations due to climate changes (De Cian et al., 2019). Despite being connected, the two drivers (temperature and prices) have mainly been analyzed separately. Novel studies started to investigate empirically the direct impact of energy prices on temperature-related mortality and they find that changes in gas or electricity prices play a role in exacerbating or mediating excess mortality especially for vulnerable households (Chirakijja et al. 2019, Neidell et al. 2019).We aim at contributing to understand the extent of the issue in the European area. For this purpose, we match climate data, natural gas and electricity prices and mortality information for 280 European urban areas between 1990 and 2017. Our sample covers about 308 million citizens representing 60% of total European population. We use a panel regression model with year and city fixed effect. We build on previous literature (Deschênes and Greenstone 2011, Barreca et al. 2016) to construct annual bins to approximate the distribution of daily temperatures and model the estimate mortality response. We extend this approach adding the interaction between extreme temperature bins and energy prices. We then use the results of the empirical analysis to simulate the future combined impacts of temperatures and energy prices on mortality rate under different climate policy scenarios. Our results show a significant effect on mortality for every additional day with temperatures below -4°C (24°F) in winter and above 26°C (78°F) in summer. Moreover, the energy prices played a role in the temperature-mortality relation. The interaction between extreme cold temperatures and both natural gas and electricity prices have positive sign and statistically significant effect. Simulations at 2040 show that the benefits in terms of reduced mortality of emission mitigation policy may be reversed by the energy price effect. Considering the interaction of temperature and energy prices, the aggregate annual mortality rate of European cities under a RCP4.5 scenario would be 1% higher compared to a scenario with limited mitigation policy. Greater potential tradeoffs emerge for more ambitious climate policies, such as those in line with 2°C. Our study offers important insights on the potential interaction between climate change impacts, mitigation policies and autonomous adaptation strategies. Our findings stress the importance of climate and social policy design aimed at addressing public health impacts arising from both changes in temperature and energy prices
Accelerating Climate Action: A just Transition in a Post-Covid Era
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/5003673
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