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Climate change and health: developing evidence for action

Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, delivered the annual Gordon Goodman Memorial lecture on 15 September 2021.

The lecture focused on a crucial topic: the direct and indirect ways in which climate change impacts human health, and solutions that can yield multiple co-benefits for people and our environment. The recording of the webinar is available below.

15 September 2021 at 15:00 CEST

ending at 16:30 CEST

Sweden and Online

Webinar recording / SEI.

The Gordon Goodman Memorial Lecture with Sir Andy Haines

Climate change will have far-reaching and potentially catastrophic effects on health, with the largest burden falling on the poor, who have contributed least to emissions. The effects of climate change on health may be direct: for example, from extreme heat. Effects can also be mediated through ecosystems, such as changes in the incidence and distribution of vector-borne diseases, including dengue and malaria, or through socio-economic pathways such as impoverishment and population displacement.

Declines in the production of vegetables, legumes and fruit could increase the risks of non-communicable diseases. Severe childhood stunting in Africa and South Asia will also likely increase markedly. Floods and droughts can have pervasive impacts and pre-existing illnesses such as HIV can increase vulnerability to conditions such as undernutrition as a result of droughts. Heat stress reduces the capacity for physical labour and will therefore diminish the income of already deprived populations.

Many policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions can yield near-term improvements in human health. Cutting fossil fuel combustion can reduce deaths from ambient air pollution and increased walking and cycling can reduce both air pollution and the incidence of diseases related to physical inactivity. Providing clean affordable energy can also reduce deaths from household air pollution. Reduced consumption of animal products in high-consuming populations, and increased consumption of fruit, vegetables and seeds, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve health. Valuing these co-benefits can make climate policies more attractive to decision makers and incentivize climate action.

Professor Sir Andy Haine

Invitation to keynote lecture by Sir Andy Haines. Produced by Venni Arra, SEI.

Sir Andy Haines is Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Professor Sir Andy Haines currently co-chairs the InterAcademy Partnership (consisting of 140 science academies worldwide) working group on climate change and health and also co-chairs the Lancet Pathfinder Initiative on health in the zero-carbon economy. He chaired the Scientific Advisory Panel for the 2013 WHO World Health Report, the Rockefeller/Lancet Commission on Planetary Health (2014–15) and the European Academies Science Advisory Council working group on climate change and health (2018–19).

Andy Haines was formerly a primary care physician and Professor of Primary Health Care at University College London. He developed an interest in climate change and health in the 1990s, and was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the second and third assessment reports and review editor for the health chapter in the fifth assessment.

He was Director (formerly Dean) of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine from 2001–2010. Haines has published many papers on topics such as the effects of environmental change on health and the health co-benefits of low carbon policies. His current research focuses on climate change mitigation, sustainable and healthy food systems and complex urban systems for sustainability.


15:00 Welcome and introduction

  • Åsa Persson, Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
  • Dan Larhammar, President, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
  • Astrid Söderbergh Widding, President, Stockholm University.

15:10 Climate change and health: developing evidence for action

  • Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

15:40 Panel discussion and audience Q&A

Moderated by:

  • Anders Nordström, Ambassador for Global Health at Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden.

Panel members:

  • Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, World Health Organization.
  • Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Environmental Change and Public Health, Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
  • Omnia El Omrani, Liaison Officer for Public Health Issues, International Federation of Medical Students’ Association.
  • Sarah Dickin, Research Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Co-lead SEI Initiative on Sustainable Sanitation.
  • Brama Kone, Associate Professor, Lecturer-Researcher of Public Health, the University Peleforo Gon Coulibaly of Korhogo, Côte d’Ivoire & an associate Researcher and Project Leader, the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques in Côte d’Ivoire.
  • Johan C.I. Kuylenstierna, Research Leader, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

From left: Anders Nordström (photo: Chris Blake); Maria Neira (photo: WHO); Sir Andy Haines (photo: Marco Okhuizen / Medisch Contact); Omnia El Omrani; Sarah Dickin; Brama Kone; Johan C.I. Kuylenstierna.

16:25 Concluding remarks

  • Åsa Persson, Deputy Director, Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).

16:30-17:00 Closed media briefing with Sir Andy Haines.

            By invitation only.

SEI experts

Åsa Persson
Åsa Persson

Research Director and Deputy Director

SEI Headquarters

Johan C.I. Kuylenstierna

Reader / Research Leader

SEI York

For further information, please contact:

Ylva Rylander
Ylva Rylander

Communications and Impact Officer


SEI Headquarters

Peter Brandén, Programme Coordinator, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
+46 70 673 93 65, [email protected]

Per Larsson, Communications Officer, Stockholm University
+46 70 581 1213, [email protected]

Hashtags: #GGLecture | #ClimateChange | #HumanHealth
Twitter: @SEIresearch @SEIclimate @Stockholm_Uni @vetenskapsakad

About the Gordon Goodman Memorial Lecture

This annual memorial lecture is held in honour of Gordon Goodman, founding director of the Beijer Institute at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1977–1989) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (1989–1991).


The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has as its aim to promote the sciences and strengthen their influence in society.

Stockholm Environment Institute is an international non-profit research and policy organization that tackles environment and development challenges. We connect science and decision-making to develop solutions for a sustainable future for all.

Stockholm University is one of Europe’s leading centres for higher education and research.

Logos for Gordon Goodman 2021

Logos for Gordon Goodman 2021

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