The climate crisis is accelerating, posing existential threats to people and places around the world. Any successful response must combine mitigation, or reducing carbon emissions, with adaptation, or ways to cope with our new climate-related realities. We also must use a climate justice lens to acknowledge that the people who contribute the least to climate change will be disproportionately harmed.
While most attention on the effects of climate change goes to humanitarian emergencies, agriculture, and water management, the crisis impacts health, education, and urban life.
The Council developed the PERCC Initiative to address gaps in climate adaptation research, policy, and programming planning. We combine climate and social science to power progress in pursuing justice in the face of climate and environmental changes.
On the sidelines of Climate Week and UNGA 78, and in advance of COP 28—the first ever to have a stated focus on climate and health—we are proud to announce the PERCC Initiative’s new strategic priorities through 2030, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals. Building on our body of work, PERCC’s future research will focus on three emerging and intersecting issues: health, adolescents and young people, and urbanization.
Priority Focus Areas
Climate and Health
Through the Research, Evidence, and Analysis on Climate and Health (REACH) Project, we will build a body of evidence on the direct and indirect links between climate hazards and health outcomes, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), nutrition, and mental health. For example, we seek to establish linkages between climate harms such as increased drinking water salinity and hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, a leading cause of maternal morbidity and mortality, expanding on our existing work in Bangladesh. We are also exploring how heat extremes may affect key outcomes and sub-groups to inform evidence-based localized heat action plans.
Building on the Council’s foundational work in girls’ skill-building and education, we run trainings, support programs, medical interventions, and community organizations to equip young people with green skills and the capacity to adapt to the climate crisis.
Through the Girls’ Resilience, Education, Empowerment, and Needs (GREEN) Project, we leverage the successes of initiatives like Casa Productiva, an indigenous women-led sustainable agricultural enterprise that grew out of the Council’s Abriendo Oportunidades program, to prepare girls, including those out-of-school, to learn key skills to benefit from the growing green economy and become leaders in climate advocacy and policy. We aim to work with the most marginalized populations under GREEN to ensure that the just transition is inclusive, and no groups are left behind.
Urban Growth and Inequalities
By 2050, 68% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Cities are more vulnerable to climate events and face unique risks from changing climate conditions, and we urgently need accurate research and effective tools to understand that vulnerability. Our Integrated Assessment of People and Climate Across Time and Space (IMPACTS) project marries demographic projections with emissions data to help policymakers—including those at the municipal level—forecast where there are hotspots of populations in need of climate adaptation support, and plan for equitable climate action. The Council’s Community Demographic Model provides researchers with an open access tool to understand changing patterns in household composition, urbanization, state level population, and more.
Effective climate action requires working across sectors and topics. With the goal of establishing PERCC as the go-to social science initiative driving progress toward climate justice at the intersection of climate, health, gender, and equity, we are focused on increasing our impact through 2030 and beyond.