social tipping interventions
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Learning to treat the climate emergency together: Social tipping interventions by the health community

March 2023 –The Lancet Planetary Health

Co-authored by a group of nineteen experts including our Executive Director Bruno Jochum (full authors list at the bottom of the page)


The article underscores the urgent need for action as climate change threatens human health and health systems worldwide. It highlights the trusted role of health professionals and their substantial purchasing power, which allocates over 10% of the global gross world product. Additionally, it emphasizes that measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions not only combat climate change but also enhance overall well-being. However, the integration of planetary health and climate change into medical curricula remains limited, leaving many health professionals unsure of how to effectively respond.

Transformative Change through Social Tipping Interventions

The article introduces the concept of social tipping interventions:

“actions with the potential to accelerate so-called contagious spread of new behaviours, social norms, and structural reorganisations” (p251)

These interventions can have a significant impact at various levels – from individuals to communities, nations, and the global scale – if a large group coordinate effort. Examples of social tipping interventions include eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, incentivizing low-carbon energy generation, enhance nature-based solutions, and reduce super pollutant. The article provides a table of fourteen action items, their greenhouse gas reduction, health co-benefits and social mobilisation potential.

Practical Strategies for Implementation

Implementing social tipping interventions requires practical strategies that can facilitate rapid mobilization and engagement

  • #1

    Strategic target selection: It is crucial to enable the health community to focus their efforts where they can have the most significant impact. This involves identifying key areas for action, such as eliminating fossil fuel subsidies or promoting low-carbon energy generation, to drive positive change.

  • #2

    Effective communication: It plays a vital role in engaging the public and policymakers in climate action. By effectively conveying the importance of addressing climate change and its impact on health, health professionals can motivate and inspire action. Clear and compelling communication strategies can bridge the gap between scientific knowledge and public understanding, leading to greater support for sustainable practices and policies.

  • #3

    Compassionate teamwork: Fostering collaboration and creating a supportive environment within the health community empower individuals to act. Sharing knowledge, resources, and experiences enhances the collective impact of the health community and amplifies efforts towards decarbonization and sustainability.

  • #4

    Building networks and partnerships: By connecting with existing networks and forming new alliances, the health community can leverage collective expertise, influence, and resources. Collaborative initiatives facilitate knowledge sharing, collaboration, and the exchange of best practices, further propelling the transition towards a sustainable and healthier future.

We encourage you to access the full article on The Lancet’s website to explore the findings and recommendations in detail.

Click here for the full article in the Lancet Planetary Health




Courtney Howard, Andrea J MacNeill, Fintan Hughes, Lujain Alqodmani, Kate Charlesworth, Roberto de Almeida, Roger Harris, Bruno Jochum, Edward Maibach, Lwando Maki, Forbes McGain, Jeni Miller, Monica Nirmala, David Pencheon, Scott Robertson, Jodi D Sherman, Joe Vipond, Hao Yin, Hugh Montgomery (senior author), March 2023, “Learning to treat the climate emergency together: social tipping interventions by the health community”. The Lancet, Volume 7, Issue 3, E251 – E264. DOI: (accessed on 15/05/2023)



Cover photo © National Cancer Institute on Unsplash