In response to the need for urgent and decisive action to keep within the 1.5 - 2°C target of the Paris Agreement, the Pathfinder Initiative aims to increase motivation and capacity by showing how the implementation of well-designed policies and technologies can yield multiple benefits for people and planet.
Scientific oversight for the initiative is provided by The Lancet Pathfinder Commission, comprising international experts in decarbonisation from key sectors, including energy, cities, food, transport and health care.
We provide practical, evidence based pathways to zero carbon through transformative local, regional and global actions. Our vision is to create a global community that delivers transformative solutions for a healthier, fairer and more prosperous post-carbon society.
Significant progress is still needed to create a healthy, ‘post-carbon’ future, no longer dependent on burning fossil fuels and other unsustainable practices, where human societies are thriving within planetary boundaries. To achieve this goal, transformative actions must be implemented on a local, regional and global scale.
The Pathfinder Initiative aims to assess and synthesise lessons from the implementation of practical, evidence-based pathways to zero carbon societies support evidence-informed decision making based on real-world case studies and robust scientific evidence. Highlighting knowledge gaps and identifying how to address the challenges of implementation across diverse settings, these pathways will enable significant improvements to be achieved with minimal delay with the aim of accelerating progress to a post-carbon society.
Funded by the Wellcome Trust and with support from the Oak Foundation, the Initiative is led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The Lancet Pathfinder Commission will provide scientific oversight, where international experts across key decarbonisation sectors and disciplines will guide and inform the work for analysis.
The Initiative will also establish Champions to create a dedicated advocacy effort to effectively communicate findings and increase motivation for change. The findings will be published in The Lancet medical journal.
Pathfinder co-Chair Andy Haines was recently listed as no. 28 on Reuters list of the top 1000 most influential climate scientists in the world.
Please note the publications below include background material from previous research and products of the Commission.
Our call for case studies is now open.
To find practical pathways to zero-carbon by 2050, we need real-world examples from a range of organisations, people and cities.
By submitting your examples, you will have the opportunity to be referenced in our final lancet report and featured in our unique dashboard of case studies across the world.
We are looking for evaluations of actions that mitigate greenhouse gases and also benefit health and wellbeing. Potential impacts on health can also include risk factors, such as changes in air pollution, diets or exposure to extreme temperatures. Both successes and failures, as well as published and unpublished examples are invited.
Evidence can include actions taken by the public and private sectors, civil society and not-for-profit organisations. Actions can come from any sector, including energy, transport, agriculture and land use, oceans, industry, human settlements, health care, and education, and from nature-based solutions like conservation and restoration.
We also welcome evidence of cross-sectoral or systemwide actions, including actions at the nexus between mitigation and adaptation.
The case studies gathered by Pathfinder will be used to map the evidence for health benefits of carbon reduction actions, to indicate where the gaps are and to provide frameworks for action to help policy makers and other actors to decide where best to focus their resources. We aim to present initial results at COP26 in November 2021, and final results at COP27 in November 2022.
The Lancet Pathfinder Commission
Prof. Johan Rockström - Professor, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Richard Horton – Editor-in-Chief, The Lancet
Selina Lo - Senior Research Fellow, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
Dr. Leena Srivastava - Deputy Director General for Science, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Dr. Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum - Head of the Climate Change and Health Programme, WHO
Prof. Mariana Mazzucato - Professor in Economics of Innovation and Public Value, UCL
Rachel Huxley - Director of Knowledge and Learning, C40
María Cortés Puch - Vice President of Networks, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Aimee Aguilar Jaber - Climate Change Mitigation, Environment Directorate, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Gong Peng - Vice-President and Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Hong Kong
Dr. Tolullah Oni - Clinical Senior Research Associate, Cambridge
Dr. Robert Zougmore - Africa Program Leader, The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
Dr. Nicole de Paula - Sustainability Fellow, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) Potsdam
Prof. Lorraine Whitmarsh - Director - Centre for Climate Change & Social Transformations (CAST), Department of Psychology
Prof. Kris Ebi - Professor in the Departments of Global Health and of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington
The Coalition on Climate Action for Health, hosted by the Pathfinder Initiative, will launch in early 2023, and will bring together a global community of committed partners including local and national governments, academia, business and civil society to accelerate the transition to a healthy, sustainable future for all.
The Coalition aims to support the delivery of climate change commitments while promoting and sustaining health and equity, and is underpinned by four key principles*:
- Implementing rapid reductions in GHG emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement targets through evidence-based actions that aim to improve health and health equity
- Use of systems thinking and implementation science in the design and delivery of actions, including the co-design of actions to maximise benefits to health and wellbeing, while assessing potential trade-offs and minimising harms
- Ongoing assessment of actions through regular measurement and reporting on progress using robust evaluation methods, including following the Paris rulebook for emissions and standardized approaches to estimating changes in health-related exposures, determinants, and/or outcomes, as well as the costs of action and wider social impacts
- Supporting mutual learning through resources such as training materials, courses, technical manuals and decision support aids, and by sharing lessons learnt, including barriers and facilitators of success, with both Coalition partners and the broader community.
Collaborators will commit to reporting annually on progress towards the net zero target, including greenhouse gas emissions, health effects and other policy relevant outcomes such as the economic costs of action and wider social impacts.
If you are interested in becoming a signatory of the Coalition on Climate Action for Health, please contact email@example.com with your name, title/role, organisation, motivation for joining the Coalition and any questions you may have about becoming a signatory. Please note that Coalition signatories will be entities/organisations rather than individuals.
*These principles are currently in draft form and will be finalised in consultation with early signatories of the Coalition.