Skip navigation
ADPH seal logo

What we say about… Climate change

Air pollution and climate change · Position statements | June 21, 2023

Our key messages

  • Climate change is the single biggest health threat facing humanity – it is endangering the environment around the world, causing damage to the economy and affecting shelter, water and food supply – determinants of good health.


  • Climate change is a transboundary public health crisis which requires complex, urgent solutions on a local, national and global scale – the actions and decisions made in the next ten years will have impacts now and for thousands of years.


  • The UK is not on course to reach global targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45% by 2030 or reach net zero by 2050.


  • The climate change emergency must not be tackled in isolation – we also need to tackle the related issues of antimicrobial resistance, emerging infectious diseases, and the biodiversity crisis.


  • Climate change impact must be considered in all policies and services and at the same time, human and planetary health and equity must be placed at the centre of climate policies.


  • Climate change action can generate co-benefits to health and the economy through improved environment, more sustainable diets and lifestyles as well as increased green job opportunities.

Our national recommendations

  • Effective collaboration and shared leadership is needed internationally, nationally and locally between different sectors in climate change mitigation and adaptation.


  • Governments across the four nations must allocate flexible, non-competitive climate change funding to local public health authorities to ensure more effective, longer-term interventions.


  • Governments across the four nations and national public health authorities must set out a clear and funded plan to reach the global target according to WHO’s guidance.


  • Climate change impact must be considered in all policies and services and, because climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable groups, all climate change policies should consider their impact on health inequalities.


  • Governments across the four nations must prioritise and invest in infrastructure that supports active travel and the use of low emission vehicles and public transport should be safe, accessible and affordable.


  • Early and long-term adaptation are needed to build resilience, prevent irreversible changes to the ecosystem and the environment and reduce the impact of climate change on public health, our health services and the economy.


  • Research is needed to identify high impact public health interventions to protect vulnerable populations and interventions that have the greatest co-benefits for both climate change and health.

Our local recommendations

  • All statutory agencies must adhere to the UK Government’s guidance on climate change and the environment.


  • Anchor institutions and voluntary and community sector organisations have major roles in place making – they must improve environmental sustainability and biodiversity through their impact on their 20-minute communities and evaluate their procurement practices and energy usage to reduce emission.


  • Climate change, water and air quality data must be available to local public health authorities and other local partners so that they could effectively respond to the public health impacts of climate change.
Download our climate change position statement in full
Back to top