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Pathfinder Initiative

Pathways to a healthy, zero carbon future 

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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, comprised of international experts in decarbonisation from key sectors, including energy, cities, food, transport and health care. 

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Pathfinder Initiative 2 columns left paragraph

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.

The Initiative will also engage high level Champions to support  a dedicated advocacy effort to effectively communicate findings and increase motivation for change.


Who We Are
Team Block
Pathfinder Management Group


Associate Professor


Sarah Whitmee

Sarah Whitmee

Influence Coordinator


Professional Services
Communications Lead


Project Coordinator
Project Co-ordinator
Pathfinder Research Group


Assistant Professor


Research Fellow

Please note the publications below are background material from previous research, not products of the Commission. 

Pathfinder Initiative Publications
Guidelines for Modeling and Reporting Health Effects of Climate Change Mitigation Actions
Jeremy J. Hess and colleagues.
Environmental Health Perspectives.
The health case for urgent action on climate change
Clinical research ed.DOI: 368, 10.1136/bmj.m1103
A roadmap for intergenerational leadership in planetary health
Zeinali, Zahra; Bulc, Barbara; Lal, Arush; van Daalen, Kim Robin; Campbell-Lendru, Diarmid; Ezzine, Tarek; Fagan, Lucy; Germann, Stefan; Guinto, Renzo; Lakhani, Heeta; Neveux, Margot; Ngendahayo, Christophe; Patil, Poorvaprabha; Singh, Sudhvir; Timilsina, Shashank; Udeh, Chiagozie; Whitmee, Sarah
Lancet. DOI10.1016/s2542-5196(20)30171-6
The Imperative for Climate Action to Protect Health
HAINES, A; Ebi, K;
New England Journal of Medicine.380 3 10.1056/NEJMra1807873
A Planetary Health Perspective on Agroforestry in SubSaharan Africa
Rosenstock, T. S., Dawson, I. K., Aynekulu, E., Chomba, S., Degrande, A., Fornace, K., Jamnadass, R., Kimaro, A., Kindt, R., Lamanna, C., Malesu, M., Mausch, K., McMullin, S., Murage, P., Namoi, N., Njenga, M., Nyoka, I., Paez Valencia, A. M., Sola, P., ... Steward, P
One Earth. DOI:
Effects of fossil fuel and total anthropogenic emission removal on public health and climate
Lelieveld, J; Klingmüller, K; Pozzer, A; Burnett, RT; HAINES, A; Ramanathan, V;
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. DOI: 116 15 10.1073/pnas.1819989116.
Urgent action is needed to protect human health from the increasing effects of climate change.
Hobbhahn, N; Fears, R; HAINES, A; Ter Meulen, V;
The Lancet. Planetary health. DOI: 3 8 10.1016/S2542-5196(19)30114-7.
The Challenge of Urban Heat Exposure under Climate Change: An Analysis of Cities in the Sustainable Healthy Urban Environments (SHUE) Database.
MILNER, J; Harpham, C; Taylor, J; Davies, M; Le Quéré, C; HAINES, A; WILKINSON, P;
Climate. DOI:
Health co-benefits of climate action.
The Lancet. Planetary health. DOI:
Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation–Lancet Commission on planetary health
Whitmee, S; Haines, A; Beyrer, C; Boltz, F; Capon, AG; Souza Dias, BF; Ezeh, A; Frumkin, H; Gong, P; Head, P; Horton, R; Mace, GM; Marten, R;
Myers, SS; Nishtar, S; Osofsky, AS; Pattanayak, SK; Pongsiri, MJ; Romanelli, C; Soucat, A; Vega, J; Yach, D.
Lancet. DOI:
Health effects of adopting low greenhouse gas emission diets in the UK
Milner, J; Green, R; Dangour, AD; Haines, A; Chalabi, Z; Spadaro, J; Markandya, A; Wilkinson, P
BMJ Open. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007364
Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions overview and implications for policy makers.
WOODCOCK, J; EDWARDS, P; TONNE, C; ARMSTRONG, BG; Ashiru, O; Banister, D; Beevers, S; CHALABI, Z; Chowdhury, Z; COHEN, A; Franco, OH; HAINES, A; Hickman, R; Lindsay, G; Mittal, I; Mohan, D; Tiwari, G; Woodward, A; ROBERTS, I;
Lancet. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61714-1.