Background

Both areas have a high GHG reduction potential (for their share in global GHG emissions see e.g. Khan et al. 2007 for transport; see e.g. Pelletier et al. 2010, Tubiello et al. 2013 for agriculture). In Austria transport accounts for 26 % of national GHG emissions (still continuously increasing), agriculture for 9% (UBA 2013). In addition to direct emission reductions, changing diets might lead to spare land, which supports climate mitigation (i.e. extensification of land use, carbon sequestration or bioenergy production). Within industrialized countries, such as Austria, diet patterns (Elmadfa et al. 2012, WHO 2013) and urban mobility (WHO 2005) have severe public health consequences, which impact negatively on the quality of life, and lead to health care costs and further macroeconomic effects (e.g. non-productive time). Consequently, measures to mitigate climate change within these areas are associated with substantial climate and health co-benefits as well as cost savings and are regarded as promising climate policy areas (e.g. Haines et al. 2009).

Important contribution in assessing climate and health co-benefits of changes inboth climate mitigation focal areas stem from the Lancet Series on Health and Climate Change (Friel et al. 2009, Woodcock et al. (2009). These studies give important insights into the magnitude of health effects and into methodologies for quantification. However, costs of implementation, impact on the health care system (i.e. cost savings) and further macroeconomic effects are only considered partially. It is stressed that the results should be interpreted as broad indication only and assessment methods should be further developed (Haines et al. 2009). Interesting findings on health effects of different diet scenarios for UK 2050 (based on Erb et al. 2009) and their associated future health care costs are published by Scarborough et al. (2010). Overall the studies show that strategies within these areas can have substantial benefits for both climate protection and health “which offers the possibility of policy choices that are potentially both more cost effective and socially attractive than are those that address these priorities independently” (Haines et al. 2009: 2104). This field of research is at the forefront of science internationally and receives increasing recognition even beyond the public health community itself (for studies on the global scale see e.g. Stehfest et al. 2009 Shindell et al. 2013), indicating the relevance of the proposed research question.