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

Deep, rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to limit future global temperature increases to 1·5°C above pre-industrial levels, but current progress is inadequate to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and to reduce future risks from climate change. The Lancet Pathfinder Commission was established to collate and assess the evidence on the near term health effects of greenhouse gas mitigation, including both modelling studies and evaluated implemented actions. The Commission’s aim is to assess the potential and achieved magnitude of the benefits for health and climate of different mitigation actions and, where possible, the factors facilitating or impeding implementation. An umbrella review of relevant systematic reviews was conducted across multiple peer-reviewed literature databases, identifying 6902 records, of which 317 full texts were screened.

The Pathfinder Initiative has identified a range of potential greenhouse gas mitigation win-win actions in different sectors that can benefit both health and the climate, particularly when implemented in ways that can improve equity and minimise trade-offs. More evidence of effective implementation strategies is needed but this does not imply waiting for evidence before acting. Continuously updated living reviews can make evidence available to researchers, policy makers, and implementers in a timely fashion. Evaluation of the effects of mitigation actions on health, equity, and greenhouse gas emissions must be undertaken in real time, using standardised approaches informed by guidelines so that outcomes are comparable across sectors and locations. This evaluation will be essential to combat disinformation and so-called greenwashing that impede progress and prevent objective assessment of the impacts of climate action. Transformative approaches that aim to safeguard health while achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions within planetary boundaries must be developed and implemented at scale through equitable collaboration and shared learning.

Read the report, here.

Environment, climate change
United Kingdom

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