Projection of Future Mortality Due to Temperature and Population Changes under Representative Concentration Pathways and Shared Socioeconomic Pathways
Institute of Health and Environment and Graduate School of Public Health, Seoul National University, 1, Gwanak-ro, Gwanak-gu, Seoul 08826, Korea
Climate Research Department, APEC Climate Center, 12, Centum 7-ro, Haeundae-gu, Busan 48058, Korea
Korea Environment Institute, 370 Sicheong-daero, Sejong 30147, Korea
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(4), 822; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph15040822
Received: 30 March 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 19 April 2018 / Published: 21 April 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impacts of Warming of 1.5 °C and 2 °C)
The Paris Agreement aims to limit the global temperature increase to below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to even below 1.5 °C. Now, it should be asked what benefits are in pursuing these two targets. In this study, we assessed the temperature–mortality relationship using a distributed lag non-linear model in seven major cities of South Korea. Then, we projected future temperature-attributable mortality under different Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) and Shared Socioeconomic Pathway (SSP) scenarios for those cities. Mortality was projected to increase by 1.53 under the RCP 4.5 (temperature increase by 2.83 °C) and 3.3 under the RCP 8.5 (temperature increase by 5.10 °C) until the 2090s, as compared to baseline (1991–2015) mortality. However, future mortality is expected to increase by less than 1.13 and 1.26 if the 1.5 °C and 2 °C increase targets are met, respectively, under the RCP 4.5. Achieving the more ambitious target of 1.5 °C will reduce mortality by 12%, when compared to the 2 °C target. When we estimated future mortality due to both temperature and population changes, the future mortality was found to be increased by 2.07 and 3.85 for the 1.5 °C and 2 °C temperature increases, respectively, under the RCP 4.5. These increases can be attributed to a growing proportion of elderly population, who is more vulnerable to high temperatures. Meeting the target of 1.5 °C will be particularly beneficial for rapidly aging societies, including South Korea.