Climate Change and Health: Scaling Up Solution-oriented Efforts

December 13, 2016
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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LancetCountdownLogoIn 2015, the Lancet Commission concluded that “tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century”. Since then, experts from around the world have launched the Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change. This international multidisciplinary research collaboration aims to track the interactions between social and environmental systems including health impacts, health resilience and adaptation, health benefits of migration, finance and economics associated with health and climate change, and public and political engagement.

The Lancet Countdown aims to publish case studies on places making significant progress on health and climate change or places "bucking the trend". Beyond this, the Countdown will also consider how case studies can actually be used to implement further changes elsewhere. 


To act on many of the recommendations made by leading experts, involved not only in the Countdown, but other climate change-related work, the World Health Organization and the Climate & Clean Air Coalition have launched the BreatheLife2030 initiative. The primary mission of BreatheLife2030 is to protect human health from the effects of air pollution and climate change. This initiative provides a platform to connect cities, increase monitoring, accelerate solutions by building a demand for new solutions and empower individuals through education. 

On this call we learned more about these solution-oriented efforts. First Nick Watts, MD presented on the Lancet Countdown and how it addresses questions such as how lessons from one situation can be usefully translated to another situation, how case studies can be used to engage policymakers, and how case studies can be used in bottom-up approaches to scale-up changes from the local to national and national to global level. HEALLogoThen Rita Cerutti presented on the BreatheLife2030 initiative, the aims, collaborators and scope of the work. Finally, Vijoleta Gordeljevic from the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) provided additional commentary on HEAL's healthy energy work and the materials in production to support both of these initiatives across Europe. Ms. Gordeljevic spoke to HEAL's new fossil fuel subsidies & health campaign which will share evidence and support the Lancet Countdown indicators on phasing out direct and indirect fossil fuels and fossil fuel subsidies.

Featured Speakers

NickWattsNick Watts, MD is the executive director of the Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change. The Lancet Countdown is an independent, international and multi-disciplinary research initiative working in special collaboration with the World Health Organization and academic institutions around the world with expertise in health and climate change. The Lancet Countdown, based at University College London’s Institute for Global Health, officially launched in November 2016 and will track progress on health and climate change. In his current position, Dr. Watts also supports the World Health Organization's engagement with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In addition, he serves as Director of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change. Dr. Watts received his medical degree from the University of Western Australia, where he also trained in population health. In addition, he studied public policy at University College London.

RitaCeruttiRita Cerutti is the current co-chair of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and a senior official with Canada's department of Environment and Climate Change. She has over 24 years of experience covering a realm of environment issues including chemicals, climate change, clean air, ozone depletion, and short lived climate pollutants. She has led Canada's engagement in regional environmental cooperation mechanisms, many of Canada's bilateral environmental partnerships, as well as Canada's involvement in key international environment fora and initiatives. In addition to various positions with the Government of Canada, Rita has also previously worked in the Government of the Northwest Territories, non-government organizations, and has also taught economics. She holds both a Master of Arts in Economics and a Master of Environmental Studies, where she focused on economy-environment integration, environmental policy, and sustainable development. 

VijoletaGordeljevicVijoleta Gordeljevic is HEAL’s Health and Climate Change coordinator. She is responsible for linking the use of fossil fuels to the negative impacts on human health through air pollution and its wider contribution to climate change. Ms. Gordeljevic is especially interested in the role government subsidies play in facilitating that process in Europe and beyond. Before joining HEAL, she worked as a Global Health Consultant in several countries on projects related to mental health, women’s health and reproductive rights as well as in the field of digital health. For the latter, she helped develop and launch a new consortium model for stakeholders across healthcare and technology to collaborate on early-stage digital health solutions. Ms. Gordeljevic holds a MSc of Science in Health Economics, Policy and Law with a focus on Global Health from the Institute of Health Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam. 

This call was moderated by Elise Miller, MEd, CHE’s director. It lasted for 1 hour and was recorded for our call archive.