Launching the 2020 Report of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change

No country – whether rich or poor – is immune from the health impacts of climate change.

Right now, people around the world face increasing extremes of heat, food, and water insecurity, and changing patterns of infectious diseases. Unless urgent action is taken, the health impacts of climate change will bring further disruption, threaten lives and livelihoods and compromise the hospitals and clinics we depend on.

The 2020 Report of the Lancet Countdown shines a light on the impact climate change is having on our health and the need for us to align our recovery from COVID-19 with our response to climate change. 120 world-leading experts from over 35 academic institutions and UN agencies – spanning every continent – present their findings, looking at more than 40 indicators.

Download the full report.

The 2020 Report illustrates that the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change represent converging crises. Wildfires and tropical storms in 2020 have tragically shown us that we don’t have the luxury of tackling one crisis alone. At the same time, climate change and infectious disease share common drivers. Responding to climate change today will bring about cleaner skies, healthier diets, and safer places to live–as well as reduce the risk factors of future infectious diseases.

Launching amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we held around 30 virtual regional launch events for the 2020 Report, from Beijing to Brazil, welcoming local health and climate experts, frontline clinicians and policy makers.

At our global launch event we welcomed messages from, and speakers including, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary UNFCCC, co-founder of Global Optimism, and co-host of Outrage & Optimism podcast, Dr Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet and Professor Anthony Costello, Global Health and Sustainable Development, UCL & Co-Chair of the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change.

As we approach the eve of the five-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, and we look ahead to the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in 2021, the 2020 Report comes at a crucial time for all of us, not just those working in health and climate, and not just those who are currently being hit hardest by the health impacts of climate change.

The consequences of delayed action for public health are devastating. A rapid response can bring health, economic and societal benefits for all.

After 3 December 2020 you will be able to watch back the global launch event, for 12 months until December 2021. You can also watch videos of frontline clinicians and download policy briefs and other communications resources. (links live after 3 December 2020)