Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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14.2 Categories of Health Impacts

The "costs" and "benefits" of alternative technologies and policies must include an evaluation of health impacts. Public health professionals should be consulted about how to reduce adverse health impacts and promote positive health outcomes. Uncertainty about the probabilities and timing of local and regional impacts, and particularly health impacts, means that policymakers may be unwilling to act. One barrier to the understanding of health impacts assessments by policymakers is the lack of a common currency for the quantification of diverse types of health outcomes (Robine, 1998). Methods such as DALYs (Murray and Lopez, 1997), which quantify morbidity impacts in a single unit of disability-adjusted years of life lost, may make health impacts assessment more acceptable to policymakers. Furthermore, many policymakers are preoccupied with current pressing health problems. Technologies that address climate change will therefore be more acceptable if they improve public health in the near-term (Adger and Kelly, 1999).

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