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

21 Nov 2023

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.

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Three images side by side showing: wind turbines and solar panels; fruit  being sold at a market; and people cycling in a city
Three main pathways to health. Image credits: Blue Planet Studio/istock via Getty Images (left), lazyllama/ (centre), City of Buenos Aires (right)

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 & 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

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Explore the Evidence Bank

Find out more about the Coalition

Find out more about the Pathfinder Initiative

Find out more about the Commission