Skip to Main Content

Background

Climate change represents the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century.

Climate change has profound implications for human health, today and in the future. The 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change concluded that:

  • the effects of climate change are being felt today, and future projections represent an unacceptably high and potentially catastrophic risk to human health
  • tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century
  • the health community has a vital part to play in accelerating progress to address climate change

Current or projected health effects of climate change include:

  • increased morbidity and mortality from heat waves, droughts, floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters
  • increased incidence of food-borne, water-borne, and vector-borne diseases
  • increased under-nutrition and food insecurity
  • increased incidence and severity of asthma and other respiratory diseases
  • violent conflict resulting from competition among nations for scarcer resources
  • climate refugees displaced by violent conflict, rising sea levels, or economic scarcity, with associated refugee health issues

Reduced greenhouse gas emissions will result in important health co-benefits:

  • Decreased fossil fuel burning will reduce harmful air pollutants.
  • A shift from animal agriculture (a major source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas) toward plant agriculture will result in a healthier diet.
  • Improved infrastructure for walking, bicycling, and public transportation will increase physical activity.
  • Decreased fossil fuel extraction will reduce occupational and environmental hazards.

Our work

Malia Carpio, MPH '15, MEM '16, preserves tick samples for her thesis work on tick-borne disease ecology. The range and incidence of many vector-borne diseases are shifting due in part to climate change.
The Yale Center on Climate Change and Health (CCCH) utilizes research, education, public health practice, and service to help achieve a world with a stable and safe climate; one in which the public’s health and diverse ecosystems can thrive. CCCH works to:
  1. facilitate innovative interdisciplinary research to understand the health impacts of climate change and of human activities that cause climate change, and to develop mitigation and adaptation solutions;
  2. provide a comprehensive educational program in climate change and health that trains future leaders;
  3. utilize public health science to support governmental and civil society efforts to mitigate or strategically adapt to climate change and to achieve climate justice; and
  4. contribute to local, national, and international scholarly efforts to summarize and track the effects of climate change on health, along with progress toward solutions.

Vision

A world with a stable and safe climate in which human health and diverse ecosystems can thrive.

Mission

The Yale Center on Climate Change and Health utilizes research, education, and public health practice to help safeguard the health of human populations from adverse impacts of climate change and human activities that cause climate change. To protect health, we work with academic, government, and civil society partners to utilize science to contribute toward sharply reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building resilience to the climate change impacts that continue to occur. We aim to make local, national, and international impact and to integrate social justice into all of our work.

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

The Yale Center on Climate Change and Health is committed to diversity of its staff, faculty, students, postdoctoral associates, and collaborators according to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender and gender identity, social class, sexuality, and religion. Because underrepresented groups are disproportionately impacted by climate change, inclusion of their perspectives is essential to YCCCH’s success.

Funding

The Yale Center on Climate Change and Health is supported by a generous grant from the High Tide Foundation. Its directors, Richard and Dee Lawrence, also co-founded Cool Effect, a program that identifies some of the best carbon emission reduction projects in the world and makes it simple for supporters to donate.