Climate change and health

Today sees the release of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change 2019 Global Report.

The Lancet Countdown is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration, dedicated to monitoring the evolving health profile of climate change, and providing an independent assessment of the delivery of commitments made by governments worldwide under the Paris Agreement. The Lancet Countdown reports annually on the relationship between health and climate, and its implications for national governments.

Read the key findings and messages from the report.


The Lancet Countdown Policy Brief for the United Kingdom focusses on connections between climate change and health in the UK. It draws out some of the most relevant findings of the Lancet Countdown Global Report, and uses UK data to highlight specific threats and opportunities that climate change poses for the health of the UK population.

195 countries are currently signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement, which is due to commence in 2020. It aims to reduce the impacts of climate change by preventing the global average temperature from increasing to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, with a view to further limit this to less than 1.5°C. However, how these targets will be achieved and funded by all countries has not yet been agreed.

If the world’s actions match the ambition of the Paris Agreement pathway, that limits global warming to well below 2 ̊C, a child born in the UK today could see an end to coal use by their 6th birthday, with the growth of solar and wind energy resulting in cleaner air across the country.

The link between health and climate change is the subject of this weekend’s Lancet editorial, Health and climate change: making the link matter. The BMJ reports on how healthcare professionals are joining Extinction Rebellion demonstrations, and Rita Issa, GP and co-founder of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion, writes in the Independent about what she sees as her moral duty to get involved.

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) recommend health professionals get involved and speak up about the health effects of climate change and the opportunities for mitigation. Read more about climate action and health on HEAL’s website.

Climate change is the subject of our current library displays. Take a look at the display boards in the Princess Royal Hospital library and the Audrey Emerton Building library at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.