Health and Climate NetworkAdvocating across sectors to deliver urgent responses to the climate crisis which deliver health for all.
The HCN is a community of experts and organisations working together to advocate for health-centred climate policy. We include expertise across sectors, including climate change, energy, transport, cities, food and diet, and health care; using our combined knowledge and experience to advocate solutions in the intersect between health and climate change.
The HCN community co-create policy to influence global decision making, we hold events, workshops and seminars to build our community and advocate together for healthy climate action. We support out members to communicate our policy messages at a national level and to their sectoral audiences. We collaborate to maximise our voice.
The HCN aims to
- Have the delivery of the Paris Climate Change Agreement viewed as the world’s most urgent action for global health.
- Raise the urgency of global climate action by showing that many climate solutions can save lives and promote health benefits for all.
- Encourage joint actions by decision-makers and stakeholders working on global climate change, energy transition, transport and mobility, food systems and health care towards a common goal of a healthy, climate safe future.
- Have decision makers at COP27 to recognise health as a core negotiating theme and ensuring mitigation and adaptation outcomes maximise the co-benefits for health.
‘Without urgent, effective and equitable mitigation actions, climate change increasingly threatens the health and livelihoods of people around the globe’
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR6 WGIII, April 2022
Who are we?
The HCN community is a wide range of experts from a range of sectors working across the climate change and health agenda. Members of our community bring experience and outreach across our core themes of clean healthy energy, active transport, thriving healthy cities, sustainable food systems and healthy diets, and resilient, low-carbon health care systems.
We are guided by our HCN steering group members include:
- Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) – network host organisation
- Action for Global Health/Students for Global Health
- Eat Forum
- Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor (IDEC)
- International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFSMA)
- London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
- Non-communicable Disease Alliance (NCD Alliance)
- Partnership on Sustainable, Low Carbon Transport (SLOCAT)
- Public Health Foundation for India
- Public Health Association of South Africa
- Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL)
- World Obesity Federation
- Wellcome Trust – observer
- World Health Organisation (WHO) – observer
HCN policy and resources
Shaping COP27 around African climate and health priorities
For climate action to be effective, impactful, and healthy for African countries and people there must be a coming together of the climate framing of the north and the development framing of the south. The limited resources that reach the continent need to be justly distributed and practically focused on human wellbeing This briefing makes recommendations for COP27 to prioritise African health and climate.
- Health must be a fundamental component of energy planning and decision making.
- African Food systems must address western-style diets and obesity alongside food insecurity, malnutrition, and hunger.
- African health sector response to climate change needs equipping, resourcing, and locally tailored responses
Paris Climate Change Agreement: urgent priority for global health
The climate crisis is a health threat that continues to grow and increase health inequalities internationally as we battle the Covid-19 pandemic. There is clear evidence that solutions to the climate crisis can also directly benefit people’s health.
- Transitioning to healthier, climate-friendly transport systems that benefit everyone.
- Shifting to sustainable food production and healthy diets.
- Building sustainable, climate-resilient health systems, delivering care when and where it is needed.
- Investing in a green and healthy economy by reorienting finance towards sustainable priorities.
Delivering the Paris Climate Agreement could be the world’s most important action for global health.
Diet and Food Systems for Health, Climate and Planet
Current food systems – including the production, processing, transport, marketing and consumption of food – are driving poor diets, impacting people’s health, and damaging the environment and economies.
- Food systems currently produce between 20 and 35% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- Poor diet is having health impacts in every country and is now the leading driver of non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, heart attack, stroke and diabetes, worldwide.
- Malnutrition – including undernutrition, nutritional deficiencies and obesity – could cost society up to $3.5 trillion per year.
Shifting towards food systems that do not add to climate change can also support healthier diets and significantly reduce premature deaths worldwide.
Energy Systems That Protect Climate and Health
The burning of fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – in the production of energy is the leading cause of climate change and one of the world’s greatest health risks.
- The energy system is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for nearly three quarters of global emissions.
- Fossil fuel combustion is by far the largest source of health-damaging air pollution, causing around a quarter of adult deaths from stroke and heart disease, a third from lung cancer, and two-fifths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Providing carbon-free renewable energy to everyone who needs it will dramatically improve climate, human health and the economy.
Transport Systems That Protect Health and Climate
Transport plays a critical role in society. But existing transport systems contribute to air pollution, traffic injuries and deaths, physical inactivity and socioeconomic exclusion.
- Transport accounts for 24% of direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel use. Road vehicles account for nearly three-quarters of transport CO2 emissions.
- One in four adults and 81% of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active, due in part to urban and transportation infrastructure.
- The world’s poorest populations make most of their daily journeys on foot, as public transport is often unavailable or unaffordable. This can limit their access to critical services like education, healthcare and nutritious food.
Reshaping mobility with a focus on people and health will dramatically reduce these risks while increasing access to convenient, affordable transport and protecting the climate.
Sustainable and Climate Resilient Health Systems
Climate change is putting increasing strain on healthcare provision around the world. Already limited services are often disrupted by climate disasters, such as heatwaves, floods and droughts.
- Global heating drives a range of health impacts worldwide, including malnutrition, infectious vector-borne diseases, diarrhoea, heat stress, direct trauma and mental illness.
- The health sector – including health care delivery, facilities, operations and supply chains – accounts for 4.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The vast majority of these come from fossil fuel combustion and high-income countries.
- If global healthcare were a country, it would be the fifth largest climate polluter on the planet.
Sustainable, resilient health systems are needed to deliver care when and where it is needed in an unstable climate, without further damaging the environment.
Be part of our HCN Community
- Share our messages for global action, by promoting our briefing papers and the policies they recommend.
- Use our briefings and policy agendas to generate discussion at a national and international level, or with your sector stakeholders.
- Engage with our experts and the wider HCN Community, by joining our seminars and events.
- Tell us about the work you are doing to promote integrated health and climate solutions
Contact the HCN
To find out more about HCN and how you can be involved contact the HCN Director, Alison Doig at [email protected] @AlisonDoig
The Health & Climate Network is funded by Clean Air Fund