Bergen Centre for Ethics and Priority Setting in Health (BCEPS)
Seminar Series | Climate Change

Climate Change and Priority Setting in Health

During Spring 2021, BCEPS will be organising an online seminar series on the intersection of climate change and priority setting in health (seminar dates 14 April, 28 April, 12 May).

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BCEPS invites you to join our inaugural seminar series on Climate Change and Priority Setting in Health. We aim to examine to what extent climate change can, and should, be integrated into priority setting in health. We are delighted to present three distinguished speakers:

  • John Broome (Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford)
  • Maddalena Ferranna (Research Associate at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University)
  • Stein Emil Vollset (Professor of Health Metrics and leader of the Future Health Scenarios forecasting team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME)

More information on the individual seminars can be found below:

John Broome (14 April 2021: 16.00-17.30 CET)
"Prices and quantities in setting priorities"

Professor Broome is Emeritus White's Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Oxford. He has worked extensively on the ethics of climate change. He was Lead Author of Working Group III of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Economics recognises two broad approaches to externalities such as greenhouse gas: the price-based approach and the quantity-based approach. Each has an epistemic side and a practical side. We can use either approach to work out what we ought to aim at in tackling climate change. And we can adopt either price-based or quantity-based instruments in concrete policy directed at whatever aim we choose. At present a quantity-based epistemology dominates: our aims are set on the basis of a carbon budget and the need to attain net zero emissions. It would be possible to use a price-based approach to achieving these aims, primarily by setting a price on carbon emissions. But quantity-based policy instruments are widely favoured instead. This leaves us without any satisfactory basis for setting priorities between health care and reducing carbon emissions.

All Professor Broome’s writing on climate change is freely available on his website, he shall particularly refer to the paper:

Maddalena Ferranna (28 April 2021: 16.00-17.00 CET)
"Using social welfare analysis to evaluate health and environmental interventions"

Dr. Ferranna is a research associate in the Department of Global Health and Population at Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts. She is interested in issues of intra- and inter-generational equity in relation to environmental and health risks.

The presentation will discuss the use of social welfare functions to assess the value of interventions that have both health and non-health outcomes, and whose impacts are heterogeneously distributed across socio-demographic groups, countries, and time.

Relevant background readings:

Stein Emil Vollset (12 May 2021: 16.00-17.00 CET)
"Forecasting populations for 195 countries to 2100 – how to incorporate effects of climate change"

Professor Stein Emil Vollset leads the Future Health Scenarios team at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Using data from the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD), IHME produces forecasts of disease and injuries burden, burden of risk factors, and population size and composition.

The presentation includes key findings and methods for IHME’s forecasts of fertility, mortality, and migration across 195 countries 2017-2100. In future iterations of population forecasts the aim is to include climate change. Forecasts of disease burden due to non-optimal temperatures will be presented, and additional strategies for including climate change in the forecasting framework will be discussed.

Relevant background readings: