Climate change is
having and will continue to have a dramatic impact on global public health –
from natural disasters and the increased spread of infectious disease to
predicted crop losses and heat waves.
This course explores the impact of human activities on climate change
and consequently public health, as well as the many real benefits to climate
change mitigation. We will discover the multiple benefits – or co-benefits – provided by public
policies and initiatives to reduce emissions.For example, protecting the environment by reducing greenhouse
gases can simultaneously improve human health.
In addition to providing evidence for climate change’s impact on human
health, this course will explore three primary areas where co-benefits can be realized: renewable energy, agriculture and
food, urban design and active transport. Please note: use of the term “urban”
is relative; traits traditionally understood as “urban” can exist in many
places, even if populations are not large.
This course will feature input from experts across the globe.
Participants will have the opportunity to engage with the current scientific
and political literature, and discuss course content with peers worldwide.
Course participants will be given a strong foundation in the core
linkages between climate change, policy, and health. There will also be
hands-on opportunities to develop skills in communicating the science and
policy connections between climate change and public health.
The course will emphasize a way forward for all, one providing the most
beneficial effects on both human health and the environment.
Week 1: Week
1 will explore crucial background information for this course, including the
scientific consensus on climate change and its known impacts on health. Students will also review the Lima Decision,
where at the 20th Conference of the Parties held in Lima, health concerns were
explicitly mentions for the first time as a requirement for countries to
consider in their formal policy planning for climate change mitigation and
Week 2: Week
2 will cover the health “Co-Benefits” of renewable energy and efficient housing, with a detailed look at
how burning fossil fuels impacts air pollution and health. Students will also explore air quality
legislation in India.
Week 3: Week
3 will focus on the health “co-benefits” of sustainable agriculture, and
introduce students to some missed opportunities in agriculture policy. Students will review the US-Farm Bill, one of
the most influential pieces of legislation controlling land management in the
Week 4: The final week of the course will feature the health
“co-benefits” of active transportation and smart urban design. Students will evaluate Sweden’s “Vision Zero”
initiative and consider polices that support active transportation and reduced
reliance on fossil fuels.