A Civil Society Event on Action in Climate & Health

Quick Overview

When: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Monday, September 22, 2014
Where: Grand Hyatt, New York, New York
Why: Climate change is not a far-off problem. It is happening now and is having real consequences on people’s lives. With a sense of change in the air, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to Climate Summit 2014 to catalyze governments, industry and civil society worldwide toward substantial commitments for a low-carbon economy to mitigate climate change. In advance of this meeting, the University of Wisconsin-Madison with other co-hosting organizations has organized a Civil Society Event on Action in Climate Change and Health. The event is also part of Climate Week NYC 2014.

Speakers include U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Boris D. Lushniak, Lancet Editor Dr. Richard Horton, GHI Director Jonathan Patz and Gundersen Health CEO and UW alumnus Jeff Thompson.

About the Event

The health and public health community are engaging through an event scheduled in advance of the U.N. summit. The University of Wisconsin-Madison — Global Health InstituteNelson InstituteWisconsin Energy Institute and Office of Sustainability — joins the Public Health Institute, the Global Climate and Health Alliance, and the American College of Sports Medicine as co-hosting organizations of the side meeting.

The Civil Society Event will focus on the health benefits of climate mitigation and the pathway towards a sustainable and healthy future. Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, will lead a dynamic program engaging thought leaders at the intersection of climate change and health across multiple sectors, including food and agriculture, transportation and community design, and energy and air pollution.

Although the event is invitation only, it will be available on the web by mid-October. If you send us your email, we will keep you updated. Or, you can watch this site for more information about the video availability.

Energy, transportation and land use, and agriculture together contribute one half to three fourths of all greenhouse gas emissions globally, while mitigation strategies in all three offer substantial opportunities to benefit health.

Air pollution now kills 7 million people annually, and non-communicable diseases, many rooted in poor nutrition and lack of physical activity, are the leading cause of death worldwide. Addressing climate change in the right ways improves health, creating cleaner air, more active and connected communities, and healthier, more sustainable food systems. Together we can make this happen.

Like the Summit itself, the U.N. Climate Summit, Side Event on Action in Climate Change and Health will build momentum for the 2014 and 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conferences, will support national climate change action, and will inform the U.N. post-2015 development agenda conversations currently underway. By focusing on health in our strategies to mitigate climate change, we have the opportunity to create healthier, more equitable and more vibrant communities throughout the world.


  • American Heart Association
  • American Public Health Association
  • Communications Coordination Committee of the United Nations
  • Consortium of Universities for Global Health
  • Health Care Without Harm
  • New York Academy of Medicine
  • The Lancet

Featured Speakers

In a series of presentations and panel discussions, a distinctive group of thought leaders will discuss the intersection of climate change and health across the multi-sector areas of food and agriculture, physical activity and active transportation, and community design, energy and air pollution. To learn more about the speakers, visit the Civil Society Event speakers page. The speakers include:

Andy Clarke, President,League of American Bicyclists

Carlos Dora, Co-ordinator, World Health Organization, Department of Public Health and Social Determinants of Health

Sir Andrew Haines, professor of Public Health and Primary Care, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Richard Horton, Editor, The Lancet

Genon Jensen, Executive Direcotr, Health and Environment Alliance

Joshua Karliner, International Team Coordinator and Director of Global Projects, Health Care Without Harm

Rear Admiral Boris Lushniak, U.S. Surgeon General

Maria P. Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health, World Health Organization

Jacqueline Patterson, Director Climate Justice Initiative, NAACP

Jonathan Patz, Director, Global Health Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Janet Walberg Rankin, Professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, Virginia Tech

Linda Rudolph, co-director, Climate Change and Health Project, PHI Center for Climate Change & Health

James Sallis, Director, Active Living Research

Gunhld Stordalen, Co-Founder and Chair, Stordalen Foundation; CEO, GreeNudge

AsterioTakesy, Federated States of Micronesia Ambassadow Extra-Ordinary and Plenipotentiary to the U.S.A.

Jeffrey Thompson, CEO, Gundersen Health System

Cristina Tirado-von der Pahlen, WHO


Overview of the Health Risks of Climate Change

Opening Remarks, Richard Horton, MD, The Lancet

Panel: Diet for a Sustainable Planet: Reimagining Agriculture, Food, and Nutrition Amidst Climate Change
The co-benefit opportunities of sustainable agriculture, food systems, and diets — benefits to health, benefits to climate.

Panel: Sustainable Communities, Active Lives:  Active Transportation and Urban Design
Global recommendations regarding active transportation and evidence for improved health; health and economic benefits of walkable communities and good community design; cities and examples of successful active transportation policy and infrastructure; and global opportunities to prevent non-communicable diseases through urban design, land use and active transportation.


Panel: Clearing The Air: The Health and Climate Benefits of Cleaner Energy
Energy production and clean air co-benefits; hospital net zero energy programs; energy production and clean air issues in emerging economies.

Catalysing Action: Putting Health at The Center of Addressing Climate Change
Closing Keynote: Where do we go from here? Launch of ActivEarth, announcement of US Climate and Health Alliance and exploration of ways to bring the health opportunities of climate mitigation to the fore in global, national and local decision-making.

Closing and Thank You