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Pathfinder Initiative

Pathways to a healthy, net-zero future 

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About

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.

Commission

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. 

Report

The report of the Pathfinder Commission, published in The Lancet, brings together evidence showing how climate mitigation actions across different sectors can bring major benefits to health in the near term and prevent millions of premature deaths annually worldwide.

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About
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We provide practical, evidence based pathways to net zero 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 future.

The latest scientific evidence shows that the international community is still falling far short of the Paris Agreement climate goals of 1.5-2°C global temperature rise. Significant progress is urgently needed to create a healthier, more sustainable future in which the world is no longer dependent on burning fossil fuels and human societies can thrive within planetary boundaries. To achieve this goal, transformative actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health must be implemented across sectors at local, national, regional and global scales.

The Pathfinder Initiative aims to accelerate a just transition through providing practical, evidence-based pathways to net zero that also bring benefits to health. The Initiative, funded by the Wellcome Trust with support from Oak Foundation, is led by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) with scientific oversight of the Lancet Pathfinder Commission, an international group of experts from diverse sectors and disciplines.  

As part of the first phase of work, LSHTM researchers have carried out a comprehensive review of existing literature on the health co-benefits of climate action and gathered case studies from around the world of implemented solutions with measured greenhouse gas emissions reductions and health benefits. The findings will have been published in The Lancet and shared through an interactive climate and health evidence bank.  

A new Coalition, hosted by Pathfinder, will be launched as part of the second phase of work to bring together key actors from national and local government, international organisations, research institutions, implementation partners and funders of climate action. The Coalition will aim to increase ambition and support the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of climate solutions that benefit health and society.

Partner organisations of the first phase include the C40 Cities network, CDP, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. The new Coalition will build a global network of partners committed to rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to evaluating and communicating the impact of actions on health and equity to inform and inspire further action.  

Watch the launch event of the Lancet Pathfinder Commission report

Read the Commission report

Explore the Pathfinder Climate & Health Evidence Bank

 

Who we are
Team Block
Profiles List
Pathfinder Co-Chairs
Prof Andrew Haines

Andrew
Haines

Prof of Environmental Change & Publ Hlth
Chair
Pathfinder Management Group
Prof Rosie Green

Rosie
Green

Professor
Sarah Whitmee

Sarah Whitmee

Assistant Professor
Dr Robert Hughes

Robert
Hughes

Clinical Research Fellow
Miss Sunita Malhi

Sunita
Malhi

Project Coordinator
Ms Sarah Sharpe

Sarah
Sharpe

Communications Manager
Communications Lead
Miss Ellie Darbey

Ellie
Darbey

Communications Officer
Pathfinder Research Group
Photo of Kris Murray

Kris Murray

ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
Ecology Lead
Dr Peninah Murage

Peninah
Murage

Assistant Professor
ENVIRONMENTAL EPIDEMIOLOGY
Dr Hugh Sharma Waddington

Hugh
Sharma Waddington

Assistant Professor
Dr James Milner

James
Milner

Associate Professsor

Soledad Cuevas

Honorary Assistant Professor
Honorary Assistant Professor
Miss Blanca Anton

Blanca
Anton

Research Assistant
Research Assistant

Tamzin
Reynolds

Research Assistant
Research Assistant
Past Researchers

Romain Clercq-Roques

Research Assistant
Publications

Please note the publications below include background material from previous research and products of the Commission. 

Pathfinder Initiative Publications
Publications List
Pathways to a healthy net-zero future: report of the Lancet Pathfinder Commission
WHITMEE, S; GREEN, R; Belesova, K; HASSAN, S; Cuevas, S; Murage, P; Picetti, R; Clercq-Roques, R; MURRAY, K; FALCONER, J; ANTON, B; Reynolds, T; SHARMA WADDINGTON, H; HUGHES, RC; Spadaro, J; Aguilar Jaber, A; Saheb, Y; Campbell-Lendrum, D; Cortés-Puch, M; Ebi, K; Huxley, R; Mazzucato, M; Oni, T; De Paula, N; Peng, G; ... HAINES, A.
2023
Lancet
Carbon pricing, health co-benefits and trade-offs: protocol for a systematic framework synthesis
Cuevas, S; Nachtigall, D; Aguilar Jaber, A; Belesova, K; FALCONER, J; HAINES, A; WHITMEE, S; REYNOLDS, T; GREEN, R;
2023
Wellcome open research
Accountability for carbon emissions and health equity
Whitmee, S., Anton, B. & Haines, A.
2023
Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 101(2): 83-83A. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.22.289452
Quantifying the effectiveness and health co-benefits of climate change mitigation actions across sectors: a protocol for an umbrella review
Belesova K., Green R., Clerq-Roques R., Falconer J., Waddington S. H., Whitmee S., Reynolds T., Hassan S., Haines A.
2022
Wellcome Open Research DOI: https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.17498.2
Achieving good health with a low environmental footprint – A comparison of national indicators
Mustard, C., Haines, A., Belesova, K. & Cousens, S.
2022
Wellcome Open Research, 7:299. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.18589.1
A tool for assessing the climate change mitigation and health impacts of environmental policies: the Cities Rapid Assessment Framework for Transformation (CRAFT) [version 2; peer review: 3 approved]
Phil Symonds, James Milner, Nahid Mohajeri, Juliette Aplin, Joanna Hale, Simon J Lloyd, Henry Fremont, Sam Younkin, Clive Shrubsole, Lawrie Robertson, Jonathon Taylor, Nici Zimmermann, Paul Wilkinson, Mike Davies
2021
Wellcome Open Res. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16345.2
A protocol for analysing the effects on health and greenhouse gas emissions of implemented climate change mitigation actions [version 1; peer review: 2 approved with reservations]
Syreen Hassan, Sol Cuevas Garcia-Dorado, Kristine Belesova, Peninah Murage, Sarah Whitmee, Rachel Huxley, Rosemary Green, Andrew Haines
2021
Wellcome Open Res. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16754.1
Bridging the evidence gap to achieve a healthy, net zero future
Sarah Whitmee, Rosemary Green, Joy Phumaphi, Helen Clark, Andy Haines
2021
The Lancet: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)02278-9
Actions for a zero-carbon future for health: a protocol for an umbrella review
Kristine Belesova, Rosemary Green, Jane Falconer, Sarah Whitmee, Andy Haines
2021
Prospero. DOI: CRD42021239292
The Lancet Pathfinder Commission: pathways to a healthy, zero-carbon future—a call for evidence
Andy Haines, Helen Clark, Joy Phumaphi, Sarah Whitmee, Rosemary Green
2021
Lancet. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00460-8
Guidelines for Modeling and Reporting Health Effects of Climate Change Mitigation Actions
Jeremy J. Hess and colleagues.
2020
Environmental Health Perspectives. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP6745
The health case for urgent action on climate change
HAINES, A; SCHEELBEEK, P;
2020
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
2020
Lancet. DOI10.1016/s2542-5196(20)30171-6
The Imperative for Climate Action to Protect Health
HAINES, A; Ebi, K;
2019
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
2019
One Earth. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2019.10.017
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;
2019
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;
2019
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;
2017
Climate. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/cli5040093
Health co-benefits of climate action.
HAINES, A;
2017
The Lancet. Planetary health. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(17)30003-7
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.
2015
Lancet. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(15)60901-1
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
2015
BMJ Open. DOI:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007364
Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: overview and implications for policy makers
Prof Andy Haines, FMedSci; Prof Anthony J McMichael, PhD; Prof Kirk R Smith, PhD; Prof Ian Roberts, PhD; James Woodcock, MSc; Prof Anil Markandya, PhD; et al
2009
Lancet. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61759-1
Case studies
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To find practical pathways to zero-carbon by 2050, we need real-world examples from a range of organisations, people and cities.

As part of the first phase of work, case studies of evaluated actions that mitigate greenhouse gases and benefit health and wellbeing were gathered by the Pathfinder research team. The call for evidence included actions taken by the public and private sectors, civil society and not-for-profit organisations, and from any sector, including energy, transport, agriculture and land use, oceans, industry, human settlements, health care, and education, as well as nature-based solutions like conservation and restoration.

Submission of examples of cross-sectoral or system-wide actions, including actions at the nexus between mitigation and adaptation were also encouraged.

The case studies gathered by Pathfinder are showcased on a new Climate & Health Evidence Bank. 

Explore the evidence bank

Read the previous call for evidence

The Lancet Pathfinder Commission: pathways to a healthy, zero-carbon future—a call for evidence

Commissioners
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The Lancet Pathfinder Commission

The Commission is co-chaired by Helen Clark, Joy Phumaphi and Sir Andy Haines. 

Aromar Revi - Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)

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 - Head of Mitigation, the Wellcome Trust

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

Coalition
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The Coalition on Climate Action for Health, hosted by the Pathfinder Initiative, will launch in 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*: 

  1. Implementing rapid reductions in GHG emissions consistent with the Paris Agreement targets through evidence-based actions that aim to improve health and health equity
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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. 

Find out more

If you are interested in becoming a signatory of the Coalition on Climate Action for Health, please contact sarah.sharpe@lshtm.ac.uk 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. 

 

Resources
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Please check back a later back.

Updates
Pathfinder Updates
Updates List
Johan Rockström wins the 2024 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a member of the Lancet Pathfinder Commission, has been awarded the 2024 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for his pioneering work on the “Planetary Boundaries” framework, a scientific guide to help keep the planet in a safe operating space.

The Tyler Prize Executive Committee awarded the prize to Professor Rockström for his “science-based approach to sustainable development for people on a stable and resilient planet”, citing the need for a holistic, interdisciplinary approach to the mounting environmental crises.

Professor Rockström is the second Pathfinder Commissioner to be given this prestigious award, considered the 'Nobel Prize for Environment', after Andy Haines, Co-Chair of the Pathfinder Commission and Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, won the award in 2022.

Read more

Opinion: The health community must build on commitments from COP28 to deliver healthy outcomes for all

Dr Sarah Whitmee, assistant professor at LSHTM and lead author of the Lancet Pathfinder Commission report; Jess Beagley, policy lead at the Global Climate and Health Alliance; and Shweta Narayan, climate and health campaigner, Health Care Without Harm, emphasise the need for continued engagement by the health community to ensure that climate action is commensurate with the scale of the threat. 

The authors highlight the "health firsts" at COP28, but argue that health is not yet protected by sufficiently ambitious climate decision making.

Read the comment piece in the BMJ

Pathfinder at COP28

COP28 included the first ever health themed day, a climate health ministerial, and a declaration on climate and health endorsed by over 140 countries. Representatives from the Pathfinder Initiative took part in a range of activities at COP, presenting findings from the Commission report and advocating for more ambitious action to mitigate climate change and improve health. Events featuring Pathfinder Co-Chairs, Commissioners and researchers included:

Following the conference, Professor Andy Haines, Co-Chair of the Pathfinder Initiative and Professor of Environmental Change and Public health at LSHTM, and Professor Liam Smeeth, LSHTM Director, commented in the BMJ on the outcomes and their implications for climate action and health. 

Expert comment: How governments and decision makers can capitalise on the health benefits of climate action

As leaders gather for COP28, Professor Andy Haines, Co-Chair of the Pathfinder Initiative highlights key findings from the Pathfinder Commission report and explains how governments and decision makers can implement actions that help to mitigation climate change and improve health. 

Read the comment piece (originally published on the OECD Forum Network website)

Pathways to a healthy net-zero future: report of the Lancet Pathfinder Commission

The report of the The Lancet Pathfinder Commission, part of the Pathfinder Initiative, highlights the opportunity for ambitious climate mitigation actions to improve health and save lives.

The report, published in The Lancet, shows how climate mitigation actions across different sectors have the potential to bring major benefits to health, and highlights the opportunity for global leaders to take actions that would prevent millions of premature deaths annually worldwide.

The report calls for a step-change in evidence-based action to capitalise on health gains that can be achieved through accelerating a just transition to net zero, including by rapidly phasing out of fossil fuels and replacing them with clean renewable energy, shifting to healthier more sustainable diets, and increasing physical activity by promoting active travel and public transport.

For the first time, global evidence on the health co-benefits of climate mitigation actions across sectors has been quantified and compared through a methodology developed by the Pathfinder team, led by researchers at LSHTM.

In addition to analysing the results from modelled evidence on potential health benefits from climate mitigation, the report includes examples of implemented actions with measured climate and health benefits. Further case studies and data from the Pathfinder review are showcased in a new online Climate & Health Evidence Bank, hosted by the Pathfinder Initiative.

Following the recommendations of the Commission report, the next phase of the Pathfinder Initiative will include the development of a Coalition of partners committed to the implementation and evaluation of ambitious action on climate and health.

The Commission and its report are part of the wider Pathfinder Initiative that aims to accelerate the transition to net-zero societies through providing practical, evidence-based emissions reduction pathways that also benefit human health. The initiative is funded by the Wellcome Trust with support from the Oak Foundation. Research is led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; partners of the first phase of work include C40 Cities, CDP, the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research. 

Read the Commission report

Read the summary

Read the news story

Explore the Evidence Bank

Find out more about the Coalition

Find out more about the Pathfinder Initiative

Find out more about the Commission

Launch Event for the Lancet Pathfinder Commission report on the health co-benefits of climate action

The Pathfinder Initiative will be hosting an event on the 21 November 2023, 17:30 – 19:00 (GMT) at LSHTM and online to present the findings and recommendations from the Lancet Pathfinder Commission report: Pathways to a healthy net zero future. The report provides the most comprehensive review to date of evidence on the health benefits of greenhouse gas mitigation by sector, as well as presenting evaluated examples of implemented actions. The review and case studies cover a wide range of initiatives across energy, transport, the built environment, agrifood systems, industry, sanitation and nature-based solutions, and highlight the opportunity to accelerate a just transition to net zero while bringing benefits to health and society.

At the launch event, speakers from the Pathfinder Initiative will present key findings and recommendations from the report, and highlight their significance ahead of COP28 in Dubai.

Find out more about the event

Sign up to receive the published report

A GST that Counts for People: Integrating Health into the Global Stocktake​

The Pathfinder Initiative, Wellcome Trust, Global Climate and Health Alliance and World Health Organization hosted an event at the Bonn Climate Change Conference on integrating health into the Global Stocktake. Speakers discussed the links between climate and health, including losses and damages, the health co-benefits of mitigation and adaptation, and examples of policies across sectors that benefit both people and planet. 

Read more 

Watch the event

Save millions of lives through healthy sustainable solutions to tackle the climate crisis

In an open letter published during COP27, leading experts including the Pathfinder Co-Chairs and Commissioners, call for a new Coalition to scale up and evaluate climate change actions to ensure health and equity are priorities as the world faces increasing climate risks.

Read the letter

Watch the video

Accelerating the transition to healthy net-zero societies: challenges and opportunities for research, policy and practice

The Pathfinder Initiative hosted a side event as part of the 2022 Planetary Health Annual Meeting (PHAM), coordinated by the Planetary Health Alliance.

LSHTM researchers presented the challenges of bringing together coherent evidence on the health co-benefits of climate mitigation actions and ways forward to advance research in this area and generate evidence to inform policy and practice.

Read more

Watch the event