Climate-Health Working Group

The Climate-Health Working Group is an ad hoc group of people from many different parts of Cochrane, as well as other organizations.  We are working on several projects at the moment, with the long-term goal of registering as a Cochrane Field.
The Cochrane Complementary Medicine (CAM) Field is generously contributing some webspace in order to help the group in its early stages, as a repository of information about our discussions. Their support reflects the CAM Field's commitment to promoting integrative medicine and its role in enhancing human and environmental health.

Cochrane Climate-Health Working Group

Humanity is facing an urgent crisis of climate change.  The changing climate is having, and will continue to have, widespread and severe impacts on global human health.  This document has been prepared in the belief that Cochrane has an important role to play in preparing and disseminating evidence syntheses relevant to the health impacts of climate change.  Although there are many groups working in the area of addressing climate change-related problems, Cochrane can play a unique role due to its focus on health and established track record in producing high-quality syntheses.  In this document we outline the complexities of preparing and disseminating evidence syntheses that will help to guide decision-making about climate change, and make recommendations for short- and long-term responses that Cochrane can make.

Our group is interested in the potential of evidence syntheses to make a contribution to the discussion of the impacts of climate change on human health and health systems, with a focus on how Cochrane can be part of this contribution. We are discussing the range of the methods and advocacy issues related to producing and disseminating evidence syntheses relevant to climate-health impacts. 

As a leader in the field of evidence synthesis, Cochrane is in a position to lead on methodological considerations for reviews within this topic, as well as to publish quality reviews in this area.  How can Cochrane members draw on our expertise and commitment to producing relevant and rigorous reviews in order to address the health impacts of climate change?  Our group members believe there are opportunities for authors, review (editorial) groups, methods and geographic groups, Fields and others connected with Cochrane to contribute.

We are currently working towards applying to register as a Cochrane Field later in 2021.

We are always happy to welcome new people.  Please contact Denise Thomson (she/her), dthomson (at) ualberta (dot) ca, for more information or to ask to be added to the mailing list.

Current projects (updated May 2021)

1.  Developing and validating a climate-health search filter.

2.  Writing an editorial about climate change and health, and the need to develop relevant evidence synthesis methods, to submit for publication on the Cochrane Library.

3. Synthesizing evidence on the context, constraints and enablers relevant to developing and implementing evidence-based climate-health adaptation policy.  

Frequently asked questions

What's the difference between this climate-health working group and the Cochrane Sustainable Healthcare Field?

The Cochrane Sustainable Healthcare Field is focused on making healthcare more sustainable by reducing overuse of medical diagnostics and treatments and reducing the number of unnecessary tests, treatments and diagnoses, whereas our working group is focused on the health impacts of climate change.  

What's the difference between this climate-health working group and the Campbell Climate Solutions Coordinating Group?

The Campbell Climate Solutions Coordinating Group's mission is to prepare and disseminate high-quality systematic reviews and evidence/gap maps that try to understand climate solutions, i.e., how to effectively reduce emissions, remove carbon dioxide from the atmostphere and adapt to global warming.  Their remit does not include heatlh interventions or health systems.  The Co-Chairs of the Campbell Climate Solutions Coordinating Group have been involved in all of the discussions of our working group.

What's the difference between the scope of the climate-health working group and the Cochrane Council's document, "Responding to Climate Change as an Organization?"

The Cochrane Council's document, "Responding to Climate Change as an Organization," was presented to the Cochrane Governing Board in early 2020.  It contains recommendations on how Cochrane can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the organization's activities.  This is different than the scope of our group, which is focused on the production and dissemination of climate-relevant evidence syntheses  Erik von Elm and Maria-Inti Metzendorf, the authors of the Council document, have been involved in all of the discussions of our working group.