PI: Robert Hughes, LSHTM
Climate change is bringing UK public health and climate policy closer together.
Climate change is an increasingly important determinant of health, including the health impacts of flooding, heatwaves and air pollution. These risks - and their unequal health impacts - will increase and intensify. As the UK policy community recognises, increasing climate instability is inevitable: we need to act now to keep people safe.
The two policy fields have had a shared focus on individual behaviour. It is estimated that more than 50% of the emission reductions required to reach net zero require individual behaviour change, including adopting low-emission diets and travel modes. Such shifts bring significant health co-benefits, with unhealthy diets and sedentary behaviour identified as major risk factors for obesity, chronic disease and premature mortality. Changes to both individual dietary and mobility behaviours are central to the government’s public health agenda and the NHS Plan, and are win-win for both climate and population health.Public health and climate policy share a focus on equity and ‘narrowing gaps’ However, changing individual behaviours while improving equity is challenging. Extensive research in the health domain suggests that upstream, policy interventions aimed at whole populations are more effective and more equitable in achieving individual behaviour change than interventions that seek to target individuals at high risk or aim to encourage voluntary behaviour change.
The project’s aim is to contribute to a shared evidence base for integrated and equity-focused policies to promote population health and to respond to climate change. It will do this by producing a set of open-source Evidence Collections that fill key evidence gaps across the two policy fields and highlight interventions that benefit both the health of people and the planet.
The Evidence Collections will summarise evidence relevant to the UK and be designed for policy makers and users in public health and in climate mitigation and adaptation. Each Collection will include multiple formats to suit different user needs, including public-facing Infographics, a 1-page Evidence Briefings, longer Evidence Reviews, and comprehensive searchable Evidence Guides.
The project will progress through four stages: identifying potential topics for each Evidence Collection; prioritisation of topics by ‘end-user’ policy and public stakeholders; evidence reviews of the top-ranked topics; and production of Evidence Collections. The project will be supported by a project Advisory Group to include policy stakeholders in current PH-PRU projects relating to public perceptions of health and climate change and intervention agency.
Mark Petticrew, LSHTM / PH-PRU;
Martin White, University of Cambridge / PH-PRU
Andy Haines, LSHTM Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health
Sarah Whitmee & Rosemary Green, LSHTM
Rachel Juel, LSHTM
Image credit: Tim Sheerman-Chase, CC BY 2.0 <;, via Wikimedia Commons