One of society’s greatest challenges is to address increasing risks from climate change. From unprecedented wildfires in the U.S., to floods in Germany and the extraordinary heat of Eastern Europe and Siberia, the impacts of climate change were felt in every corner of the world this past year.
Overcoming this challenge will require new science to identify and mitigate health impacts, and a new workforce of well-trained professionals who can translate that science into action.
The Columbia Mailman School of Public Health Program in Climate and Health (CHP) instituted the first world class academic research and training program to further these goals through research beginning in the 1990s.
Denise Drace-Brownell’s attention to climate change began with her pioneering work at Columbia in 1992, “I am proud of the work the CHP is doing,” she said.
“There is also an immediate need for institutions to assess their own climate risks from operations,” Drace-Brownell added. “Companies should conduct a comprehensive assessment via a multi-disciplinary team including engineers, risk managers, climate and health scientists, and business strategists, to assess projected climate risks such as those from rises in water levels, turbulent weather events such as hurricanes, temperature changes, infrastructure damage and supply and business disruptions. Mitigation strategies should be developed. Not to be overlooked are potential competitive opportunities from climate change, such as impacted competitors, technology innovations and supply chain differentiation.”
Eric Rothenberg, who holds a Master’s in public health and leads an environmental law team at O’Melveny & Myers LLP, agreed that professionals can play a key role, especially as financial institutions and public companies look for advice on how to frame environmental, social and governance goals and objectively report on progress toward achieving them: “I’ve been working in the ESG stewardship field for more than 40 years and only now seeing a convergence of global public and private sustainability efforts that can actually put us on a path to a healthier and safer planet: public health institutions especially have a key role to play in providing for the army of ESG professional we need on Boards, governments, multilateral institutions, NGO’s and civic groups to join hands on this urgent and vital effort. The Drace-Brownell gift is perfectly timed to empower this effort.”
SOURCE Deborah Kohan, MEDIA CONNECT