Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Co-Benefits
Early Warning & Risk Analysis
Security
North America
William Peter Hull and Daria Ivleva, adelphi
Hurricane Sandy leaves downed trees in Manhattan streets in October 30, 2012 in New York

A new report entitled The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment has been formally unveiled at the White House on Monday the 4th April 2016. The findings aim to support decision making at all levels in preparing for and managing the multifaceted health risks posed by a warming planet.

 The report also offers evidence that can be used to raise climate ambition, strengthening a line of work on climate and health that has received increasing political attention in the past years. For instance, Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) was co-initiated by the U.S. in 2012, for which global negative health effects of air pollution were a major motivation.

The report, released by the Obama administration, illustrates the serious public health threats posed by climate change today and in the future, especially to vulnerable groups described by the report as populations of concern. Some of the factors cited in the report are: extreme summer heat which can increase the number of premature deaths, poor air quality which can affect the human respiratory and cardiovascular systems, risks of increased water-related illnesses and the risks posed by increased extreme weather events. 

Last year, several actors highlighted the need to act on climate change to safeguard public health, often pointing out significant health benefits of emission mitigation.  These actors include, notably, the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change (2015) and the World Health Organisation (2015). Specifically, exposure to air pollution causes 8 million deaths annually, as stated in a resolution by the World Health Assembly of 26 May 2015.  Health impacts related to air pollution are estimated at an average of 4 % of the GDP for the top 15 greenhouse gas emitters, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

According to U.S. officials, the research conducted by 100 experts for the Climate and Health Assessment signifies, to date, the most comprehensive effort yet to quantify the health impacts of climate change within the U.S. The report expands upon the 2014 National Climate Assessment. The U.S. Government’s Fact Sheet on the assessment also points towards climate action taken by the Obama administration, for example the Clean Power Plan that has caused such domestic controversy.


Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Early Warning & Risk Analysis
Security
Asia
Dr. Dhanasree Jayaram

South Asia’s vulnerability to climate change and associated fragility risks calls for a regional approach to climate services. Different actors need to cooperate to share actionable climate information—the security architecture in the region would benefit.

Cities
Climate Change
Sustainable Transformation
Technology & Innovation
Global Issues
Asia
Kongjiang Yu, Urbanet

With cities continuously more threatened by climate change-induced disasters, urban planning’s reflex response is to protect cities against nature. But what if the solution lies in working with nature instead against it? Architect Kongjiang Yu invites readers to imagine what cities could look like if they took into account ancient wisdom on spatial planning.

Conflict Transformation
Security
South America
Central America & Caribbean
Andrés Bermúdez Liévano, Diálogo Chino

During the past two weeks, Antigua & Barbuda, Nicaragua and Panama ratified the Escazú Agreement, giving a major boost to the unprecedented and innovative Latin American pact that seeks to reduce social conflicts and protect frontline communities in the world’s deadliest region for environmental defenders.

Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
Leila Mead, IISD/SDG Knowledge Hub

UN Secretary-General António Guterres outlined priorities for the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 26) during a briefing at UN Headquarters. The briefing was hosted by the UK, which will be assuming the COP 26 presidency in partnership with Italy. COP 26 is scheduled to convene from 9-20 November 2020, in Glasgow, UK.