Research, education, training, and research translation directed at health problems that are related to environmental exposures and transcend national boundaries, with a goal of improving health for all people by reducing the environmental exposures that lead to avoidable disease, disabilities, and deaths.
Scientific understanding of the links between climate change and adverse human health impacts is increasing, but there are many gaps in our knowledge. At NIEHS, we are engaged in multiple activities with other government agencies, international research and policy organizations, academia, and nongovernmental organization stakeholders to identify these knowledge gaps, craft research agenda to address them, communicate findings, and work with decision makers to incorporate this information into sound health policy and actions.
NIEHS and NIH Climate Change Activities
Climate Change and Human Health Program
The NIEHS Climate Change and Human Health Program provides coordination and leadership for NIEHS-supported research and activities related to the human health impacts of climate change. This program also coordinates climate change and health collaborations across NIEHS, NIH, and other federal agencies.
The NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative is an urgent, cross-cutting NIH effort to reduce health threats from climate change across the lifespan and build health resilience in individuals, communities, and nations around the world, especially among those at highest risk. The NIH Climate Change and Health Initiative is led by an Executive Committee comprising the Directors of seven NIH Institutes and Centers. The NIEHS Director chairs the Executive Committee and NIEHS provides the Initiative's administrative home.
Federal Interagency Climate Change Activities
U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP)
NIEHS, representing the HHS, participates as one of 13 federal agencies in the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). The USGCRP coordinates and integrates federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society. The USGCRP began as a presidential initiative in 1989 and was mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-606).
Interagency Cross-Cutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health (CCHHG)
The Interagency Cross-Cutting Group on Climate Change and Human Health (CCHHG) is a working group of the USGCRP. The CCHHG focuses on defining research and scientific priorities across the federal government related to the human health consequences of climate change. The CCHHG identifies current knowledge gaps and helps set priorities for data monitoring and integration, public health adaptation, risk communication, and education. Staff from NIEHS, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staff co-chair the CCHHG.
National Climate Assessment (NCA)
The National Climate Assessment (NCA) provides an in-depth look at climate change impacts in the U.S., now and in the future. It details the multitude of ways climate change is already affecting and will increasingly affect the lives, and human health, of American. The NCA is based on observations from across the country and data from climate system models. The NCA is coordinated through the USGCRP. NIEHS provides technical input, co-authors health sections of the assessment, and provides additional review.
International Climate Change Activities
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is an environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development. Its objective is a global effort to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and confront climate change. The NIEHS participates as the primary health representative to the U.S. delegation to the UNFCCC.
U.S. Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Health and Environment Community of Practice (CoP)
The Health and Environment Community of Practice is made up of members from national and international organizations that use environmental observations to improve health decision-making processes. NIEHS participates as a representative of HHS.