News Release

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Call to Copenhagen – Health Effects of Climate Change

Major Study Unveiled, Evaluates Strategies to Reduce Green House Gas Emissions

What: Members of the press are invited to the unveiling and policy discussion of a major international study on the Public Health Impacts of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions being published in Lancet, just in time for the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), one of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring the event which will feature speakers from around the world gathered in Washington, DC and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine participating via live video conferencing.

When: Wednesday, November 25, 2009, 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Where: National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20045

Event Program:

7:30 a.m. Registration and Breakfast

8:30 a.m. Keynote Perspectives – U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, U.K. Secretary of State for Health, WHO Director-General (invited)

9:00 a.m. The Study Findings – Researchers will present their findings examining the potential health impacts of alternative strategies for reducing greenhouse gases.

10:00 a.m. Public Health Policy – A panel of prominent policy leaders will discuss the implications of the research, and consider ways to encourage technological and behavioral change to reduce greenhouse gases and to improve public health.

11:30 a.m. Questions and Answers – Panel members will take questions from the press.

12:30 p.m. Adjourn

Registration: Please register for this event at


In the first major study of its type, an international team of researchers has investigated the implications of several climate change strategies now being considered by governments throughout the world.

Case studies examined in this research focus on four key sectors that produce greenhouse gases: power generation, transport, household energy, and food and agriculture. The results of these findings will be published as six (6) research papers in the Lancet on November 25, 2009.

The research team was headed by Professor Andy Haines of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and includes scientists from the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, India and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Some questions addressed by the study include: Would a move to renewable sources of power be better if it improved public health as well as reducing green house gas emissions? What could be the health impacts of encouraging people to cycle rather than take the car? Could changing the use of biomass fuel stoves in developing countries have an impact on maternal health as well as greenhouse emissions?

Climate change threatens the health of millions of people worldwide. In December 2009, the UN Climate Change Conference will meet in Copenhagen to discuss a global agreement to address climate change by effectively reducing greenhouse emissions.

Study funders: The U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), U.K. Department of Health, U.K. National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), U.K. Economic and Social Research Council, Royal College of Physicians, Wellcome Trust, and the U.K. Academy of Medical Sciences.

Breakfast for this event will be provided by the United Nations Foundation.

The NIEHS supports research to understand the effects of the environment on human health and is part of the NIH. For more information on environmental health topics, visit our website at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®


On November 3, 2009, at the request of the institute, the sentence in paragraph two in the background section was changed to "The results of these findings will be published as six (6) research papers in the Lancet on November 25, 2009."