Center for Climate Change and Health
The Center for Climate Change and Health contributes to building healthy and climate-resilient communities that have the right tools to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The Center engages local leaders, community-based organizations, public health and health care workers, scientists, policymakers and civil society in mainstreaming the protection of health across a wide range of policies and sectors. It promotes strategies that effectively address the impacts of climate change on health, while at the same time generating co-benefits from adaptation and mitigation for health and across other sectors.
Changing the Narrative on Climate and Health
This project builds on the work of the Global Climate and Health Forum, working to garner support for a California-specific Call for Action on Climate, Health, and Equity and to distribute the Call to California electeds and officials.
Cleaner Cookstoves: Building Global Capacity and Improving Public Health
One-third of the world’s population, three billion people, depend on wood, charcoal and other biomass fuels for cooking. The World Health Organization has estimated that pollution from cooking fires causes over four million premature deaths per year, mostly among women and young children. Household air pollution causes acute respiratory infections, lung cancer and heart disease, among other serious illnesses. More people die each year from cooking smoke than from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS combined. The urgency to transition billions of people to cleaner cooking is enormous.
PHI is tackling this challenge through a range of activities funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cookstove program evaluation, technical capacity-building and partnerships with organizations on the ground are just a few of PHI’s interventions to reduce mortality from household pollution. The program supports field work in Guatemala, India and other low-income countries and supports the efforts of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
Climate Change and Health: Building Capacity and Leveraging the Health Voice
The goal of this project is to train physicians affiliated with the California Medical Association Foundation's Network of Ethnic Physicians Organizations (NEPO) on the basics of climate change, health, and equity; support them to conduct education and outreach on climate change and health for colleagues, community organizations, media, and policy-makers.
Climate Change, Health and Equity: Framework to Action
Using a Center-developed framework on the intersections among climate change, health and health equity as a guide, this project seeks to: catalyze and support health sector engagement on climate change and integration of health and equity into climate action, through advocacy, training, and support. The Center is supporting a national learning collaborative for urban local health departments to integrate climate change into the work of LHDs.
Creating a Climate for Health
This project's goals are to foster public health sector engagement and partnerships to mitigate climate change and to build community and public health system resilience to adapt to climate change. The project is developing an organizing framework for public health worker engagement; implementing pilot projects that model community climate action; and developing targeted climate communications and advocacy support for the public health sector.
U.S. Climate and Health Alliance
PHI's Center for Climate Change and Health hosts the U.S. Climate and Health Alliance, which brings together public health and health care workers from across the U.S. to amplify the health voice on what The Lancet has called "the biggest global health threat of the 21st century." Alliance members will come together to share information, identify ways to engage and work to ensure that health and health equity are at the forefront of all U.S. programs and policies to address climate change.
Here's How We're Making a Difference
Advocating for Action On Climate and Health
Through advocacy, expert testimony and research, PHI’s Center for Climate Change and Health supported the groundbreaking passage of 2016 California legislation, SB 32 and SB 1383, the most aggressive climate change bills in the country.
In 2016, the State Legislature solidified California’s role as a leader in policy changes to slow climate change with the passage of these two bills, buoyed by PHI’s advocacy and research that integrates the long-term consequences climate change will have on vulnerable populations. On the local level, PHI’s Center for Climate Change and Health championed a ban on coal handling in Oakland, CA, citing the detrimental effects nonrenewable energy has in exacerbating climate change.
In 2015, Dr. Linda Rudolph, of PHI's Center for Climate Change and Health, played a key role in advocating for passage of SB 350, a new California law that will increase the state's renewable energy use to 50% and double energy efficiency in buildings by 2030—including testifying before the State Assembly on behalf of the bill. Dr. Rudolph was named a Champion for Change in Climate and Health by the White House in 2013.
Building Powerful Alliances to Spur Action on Climate Change
With a powerful track record for engaging partners and building capacity to address public health issues, PHI is working to foster public health and health sector leadership on climate change. An accredited NGO at the United Nations, PHI works to build attention to the links between climate change and health in international meetings and negotiations.
As the host of the Center for Climate Change and Health, PHI serves as the host of the U.S. Climate and Health Alliance, a network of health and public health practitioners working to address the climate impact on health, providing up-to-date resources on health and climate change and a forum for public health professionals to communicate and engage on climate solutions. The U.S. Climate and Health Alliance is the U.S. affiliate of the Global Climate and Health Alliance that brings together health advocates on climate change from around the world.
In the fall of 2018, health leaders gathered at the first-ever Global Climate and Health Forum in San Francisco to discuss the impact of climate change on health and their responsibility to act. PHI and our Center for Climate Change and Health participated as host organizations, and the U.S. Climate and Health Alliance one of the main event organizers. At the Forum, over 70 health sector leaders from across the world recommited to reducing carbon pollution and building healthy, resilient communities. Learn more about the event and see photos.
Empowering Physicians to Speak Out on Climate Change
Recognizing that physicians are trusted voices on issues of health and wellness, PHI's Center for Climate Change and Health trains doctors and other health professionals to address the connections between climate change and health.
The Center has also developed resources including a poster series on the health impacts of climate change—including allergies, heart health, heat-related diseases, asthma and our food—and A Physicians Guide to Climate Change, Health and Equity, which explores the complex and multifaceted connections between climate change and health, its disproportionate burdens and the impacts on health equity, and opportunities for solutions.
Supporting Urban Health Departments in Advancing Climate Health Equity
PHI's Center for Climate Change and Health has engaged 13 urban local health departments in a learning collaborative focused on advancing health equity. In Denver, where heat-related mortality is projected to double by 2050, grantees are creating a mapping tool that will include a climate and health equity vulnerability index.
The collaborative is funded by The Kresge Foundation, and seeks to build capacity in urban local health departments to address climate change, health, and equity through a variety of different approaches in collaboration with community partners. Read about the other projects.
Using New Communication Tools to Link Climate Change and Health
Our health and climate are inextricably linked. From polluted air quality to shrinking food and waters supplies, communities across California—and around the world—are already experiencing climate change's harmful health impacts. The looming effects upon California's communities, particularly those that are disproportionately vulnerable, are becoming increasingly urgent and severe.
To help spur action to address this crisis, PHI and our Center for Climate Change and Health created an infographic demonstrating how climate change contributes to California's rising rates of disease, poverty and death. See the full infographic.