US Climate and Health Alliance

New Lancet Countdown report on climate change and health

October 31, 2017 Lancet Countdown

The Lancet Countdown released a new report assessing global progress on climate change and health. The report builds on the influential work of the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change, which concluded that anthropogenic climate change threatens to undermine the last 50 years of gains in public health, and conversely, that a comprehensive response could unlock “the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.”

The 2017 Report assesses progress in the global response to climate change and associated health impacts across 40 unique indicators and five thematic indicator groups: Climate Change Impacts, Exposures & Vulnerability; Adaptation Planning & Resilience for Health; Mitigation Actions & Health Co-Benefits; Economics & Finance; and Public and Political Engagement.

The report’s authors and the results of the 40 indicators come to three key conclusions:

  1. The human symptoms of climate change are unequivocal and potentially irreversible – affecting the health of populations around the world, today.
  2. The delayed response to climate change over the past 25 years has jeopardised human life and livelihoods.
  3. Although progress has been historically slow, the past 5 years have seen an accelerated response, and in 2017, momentum is building across a number of sectors; the direction of travel is set, with clear and unprecedented opportunities for public health.

In addition, the report reiterates that the voice of the health profession is essential in driving forward progress on climate change and realizing the health benefits of this response. Specifically, the authors assert that “the health profession not only has the ability but the responsibility to act as public health advocates by communicating the threats and opportunities to the public and policy makers and ensuring climate change is understood as being central to human wellbeing.”

A copy of the 2017 report and more details on the report can be found here.