Professor and Chair
University of California Berkeley
Despite China's rapid progress improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WSH) access, in 2011, 471 million people lacked access to improved sanitation and 401 million to household piped water. Because certain infectious diseases are sensitive to changes in both climate and WSH conditions, we projected impacts of climate change on WSH-attributable diseases in China in 2020 and 2030 by coupling estimates of the temperature sensitivity of diarrheal diseases and three vector-borne diseases, temperature projections from global climate models, WSH-infrastructure development scenarios, and projected demographic changes. By 2030, climate change is projected to delay China's rapid progress toward reducing WSH-attributable infectious disease burden by 8-85 months. This development delay summarizes the adverse impact of climate change on WSH-attributable infectious diseases in China, and can be used in other settings where a significant health burden may accompany future changes in climate even as the total burden of disease falls due to non-climate reasons.