Climate and health

Our vision is a world in which global heating does not harm health in the communities it affects most.

Why we're taking on climate and health 

Climate change is damaging people's health, and no part of the world is immune from its harmful and deadly effects.

Unless action is taken now, global temperatures are set to rise 1.5 degrees by 2034.

Because of global heating, glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, rainforests are dying and extreme weather events are intensifying, including tropical storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves.

Each of these climate impacts has specific and serious consequences for human health.

  • Millions of lives will be lost.
  • Infectious diseases will spread faster and further.
  • People will have less to eat to stay healthy.
  • Heart diseases will increase.

Climate change is a health crisis, and we need a global strategy for urgent action. But there is chronic underinvestment in finding the solutions that will limit the damage and lead to a healthy sustainable future.

We must work to shine a light to a sustainable future, where our health, and that of the planet, is no longer at risk from our actions or inaction on climate.

A photograph of the person, Madeleine Thomson.

Madeleine Thomson

Head of Climate Impacts

Wellcome

What we're doing 

Working in partnership with the communities most affected, Wellcome will support research and science-based solutions for taking on this urgent health challenge. 

To help us develop focused goals for our climate and health strategy, we’re reviewing evidence about the impact of climate change on people’s health so that we can find the areas where more research is needed.

In October 2021, Wellcome pledged up to a further £75m to accelerate climate and health research. A mixture of directed funding and one-off open calls, it will include discovery research through to translation and working across different countries.

Wellcome also funds discovery research into a broad range of disciplines, including infectious disease, population health and genomics. Insights and tools from this research will contribute to solving this health challenge, as well as increasing broader understanding of life, health and wellbeing.

What we've done so far  

Since 2015, we've supported a global community of researchers who are taking on the challenges that food systems, increasing urbanisation and climate change pose to our health. We’ve gained many valuable insights that will help to inform our future climate and health work.  

Find out more about the Our Planet, Our Health programme, and the grants we awarded.

Looking for research funding?

Find out what opportunities we have available for discovery research.

Our team 

  • A photograph of the person, Madeleine Thomson.

    Madeleine Thomson

    Head of Climate Impacts

    Wellcome

See everyone who's in the climate and health team.

Latest report 

Latest news and opinion