Gina McCarthy, Boris Lushniak, Richard Horton to speak at Climate and Health Event on the Eve of the UN Climate Summit in New York


Media Advisory

New York, September 19, 2014


On Monday September 22nd, the eve of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in New York, leading figures from the health community - including EPA Chief Gian McCarthy, Acting U.S. Surgeon General Boris Lushniak, and Richard Horton, editor of medical journal The Lancet - will come together at to discuss the intersection of climate change and health.

The event, which is co-hosted with the American College of Sports Medicine, the US Public Health Institute, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will address the health risks posed by climate change and outline a pathway towards a sustainable future in sectors such as energy, agriculture and active transportation.

The Global Climate and Health Alliance and its member groups will highlight the steps taken recently by several health organizations - including the British Medical Association and the Health Employees' Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) - to phase out or restrict their investments in fossil fuels, and increase investment in clean energy and low-carbon health systems.  Another announcement by a US-based health organization is also anticipated during the event, as is a system-wide statement from the UK health system about the sustainable development plan they have recently put in place.


The confirmed list of speakers includes:

RADM Boris Lushniak, Acting U.S. Surgeon General

Gina McCarthy, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Maria Neira, M.D., Director, Public Health and the Environment Department, World Health Organization

Richard Horton, Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet

John M. Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Advisor for Public Health to the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Sir Andy Haines, Professor of Public Health and Primary Care at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

Jonathan Patz, Professor & Director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

The full list of speakers can be found here.

Taking place soon after a number of statements about the need for bold action to protect human health from climate change at a recent World Health Organization conference, this event will strengthen ambition in advance of the Secretary General's Leaders' Summit and COP20 in Lima. It will also highlight the significant financial and social benefits of increased investment in clean energy, low-carbon health systems and community resilience.


For more information about the “Action in Climate Health” Civil Society Event, please visit



“The evidence is overwhelming: climate change endangers human health. Solutions exist and we need to act decisively to change this trajectory.” – Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization (during the WHO's August conference)

“Greenhouse gas pollution, through its contribution to global climate change, presents a significant threat to Americans' health and to the environment upon which our economy and security depends.” – US EPA Chief Gina McCarthy

"Our patients' health is being harmed by changes to our climate. The health effects of these changes are very clear. Health professionals must understand these effects and must advocate to reduce them and the consequent deleterious health effects. Actions that we can take directly and in our working environments include adopting clean energy sources and ensuring that our health systems aim to reduce dangerous emissions.” - Dr. Margaret Mungherera, President of the World Medical Association


"We’ve now got a plan: it’s quite recent, but it’s a plan that we’ve committed to. It’s about reducing our carbon footprint, it’s about being better prepared for extreme events. And crucially, about how we invest - now - in what we’re doing, and about how that’s going to affect future generations. ... We’re taking this extraordinarily seriously." - Duncan Selbie, CEO of Public Health England on behalf of the health system in England.

"The health care sector is waking up to the reality that climate change is a massive public health crisis and they need to join the movement to address it," said Gary Cohen, president and founder of Health Care Without Harm. "Health care professionals can raise their voices to demand policies that put a price on carbon and invest in clean energy solutions that will prevent a whole array of climate change-related health impacts."



Media contact:

Nick Watts, Global Climate and Health Alliance Convenor:

Mob: +61421528949,