University of Wisconsin–Madison

Global Hot Spots: “An Update from Paris: On the Road to a Clean Energy Society”

Speaker: Jonathan Patz, Director of the Global Health Institute and John P. Holton Chair in Health and the Environment, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Department of Population Health Sciences

About the talk: In early December, a record number of heads of state convened in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) on climate change to negotiate commitments on greenhouse gas reductions needed to address the challenge. Also unprecedented was the level of agreement on the serious threat of climate change and the imperative need to rapidly reduce fossil fuel emissions. But, are the trade-offs fully understood? Are the costs and benefits from a low-carbon economy fully accounted for in a way that can inform the policy process? The global climate crisis poses many risks to human health: from heat waves, famines, and weather-sensitive infectious diseases, to extreme storms, sea-level rise, and infrastructure collapse. Yet, climate change mitigation policies could potentially have enormous public health benefits stemming from improved air quality and active transport that promotes physical fitness. These represent the “silver lining” or co-benefits of action to confront today’s global climate crisis. In short, climate change presents large human health risks, while climate-change actions offer health benefits – possibly the greatest health opportunities in more than a century.

More about the event and registration can be found here.