US Climate and Health Alliance

Health Co-Benefits Conference

Location: University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Sponsor:  University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE)

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With the historic Paris Agreement in late 2015, the nations of the world made historic commitments to pursue climate change mitigation – activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the business community has been making unprecedented investments in mitigation activities, in recognition of the diversified set of risk management strategies needed to engage the climate issue. These commitments and investments are significant for public health, as climate change mitigation activities have immediate, substantial public health returns. In particular, investments in cleaner energy and manufacturing, lower-carbon agriculture, more efficient transport, and greener cities have been shown to improve respiratory health, reduce obesity rates, limit cardiovascular disease, and reduce overall premature mortality.

Only some of these benefits have been quantified, however, and quantification efforts often use different methods, making it difficult to synthesize and compare findings. As a result, many opportunities for highlighting the health benefits of climate change mitigation activities to policy makers and private investors have been lost.

In September 2016, the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) will be hosting a conference on the health benefits of climate change mitigation policies and technologies. The overarching goal of the conference is to promote vigorous uptake of health benefits research in policies and planning and to highlight policy choices that have the greatest mitigation and health impact potential. Conference attendees will include leading scientists from around the world. Discussions will consider the status efforts to model health benefits of mitigation activities in a range of sectors and will focus on increasing consistency of modeling assumptions and approaches to enhance the policy relevance and application of health benefits research, thereby improving the evidence base to inform mitigation choices.