Ethical Perspectives on Health Impacts of Climate Change

22/09/2022 - 23/09/2022
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Conference on Ethical Perspectives on Health Impacts of Climate Change. Topics include Arctic well-being, global health, ecocide, climate justice, and more.

The effects and consequences of climate change are systemic and far-reaching. Public health will be affected by climate change as a consequence of increased temperatures, rising sea levels, and warming oceans. New health risks will emerge, from changes to the natural world, such as carriers of viruses and diseases and other related aspects, including the effects on human and animal habitats. What are the most pressing ethical challenges when it comes to health affected by climate change? What are our responsibilities towards future generations? What will justice in health and equal access to health care mean in a future world affected by climate change? What would rethinking justice in health within planetary limits on a heating planet look like? What are the particular vulnerabilities and responsibilities from a Nordic point of view with regards to climate change and public health?  

Welcome to two half days dedicated to the theme Ethical Perspectives on Health Impacts of Climate Change. We have invited some of the most prominent researchers from the Nordics and beyond, from fields such as in bioethics, medical epidemiology, global and urban health, moral philosophy, as well as an award-winning Icelandic writer and film director. What they all have in common is that they have in various ways, raised issues related to climate change in their fields. They will share their research and their reflections in the form of presentations and conversations. There will be opportunities to raise questions.

The conference is a collaboration between Umeå University and the Nordic Committee on Bioethics. All talks will be in English.

The conference is open to all interested parties with the option of attending both physically or via Zoom. It is free of charge.

N.B. Registration is required, the deadline for registration for physical attendance is September 13.

The conference will take place at Folkets Hus in Umeå and the time zone is CEST.


NB: The programme is subject to change.

Day 1 

13:00-13:45 Keynote: Health & Climate - the Scientific Facts and Ethical Reflections

Joacim Rocklöv.  Humboldt Prof, Heidelberg University, Visiting Prof. Epidemiology Umeå University Dept. Public Health and Clinical Medicine

13:45-15:15 Nordic Effects, Vulnerabilities, and Responsibilities

“Climate Change, Ethics, and Arctic Human Well-being: Reflections from research in Greenlandic Coastal Communities”

Joan Nymand Larsen. Professor of Economics, University of Akureyri, Iceland, and Stefansson Arctic Institute, Senior Scientist and Research Director. Coordinating lead author for the Polar Regions chapter of the IPCC WG-II 5th assessment report. Expertise in Arctic climate change impacts and adaptation.

“Interdisciplinarity research – Holistic view for Health and Well-being"

Birgitta Evengård. Professor of Infectious Diseases at Umeå University, Sweden with a background in parasitology (K.I.). Expertise on infectious diseases and climate change in the north.

“Climate change and the One Health perspective in the North”

Arja Rautio. Professor of Arctic Research, VP Research U Arctic, Director of Thule Institute, Group leader for Artic Health in Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu. Expertise on One Health and changing climate in the Arctic.

15:15-15:45 Coffee

15:45-16:15 Bioethics and Moral Changes (The Bioethics Perspective)

”How Bioethics can Help Mitigate Climate Emissions”

Cheryl Cox MacPherson, Professor in Bioethics, School of Medicine, St George University of Grenada, West Indies. Editor of Bioethical Insights into Values and Policy: Climate Change and Health (Springer Press, 2016) and author of “Energy, Emissions, and Public Health Ethics” Oxford Handbook of Public Health Ethics 2019). “Why Bioethics Should Address Climate Change and How It Might Do So” (in Bioethical Insights, 2016). 

16:15-17:00 Mingle with speakers

Day 2  

9:00-9:45 Bridge between Nordic and Global Values (A Perspective of Time)  

Andri Snær Magnason. Award-winning Icelandic writer and documentary film director. Books include: On Time and Water, Dreamland, Casket of Time, LoveStar, The Story of the Blue Planet, and more. Andri ran for President of Iceland in 2016 with environmental issues on his agenda and came third. 

9:45-10:15 Bioethics and Moral Changes (The Bioethics Perspective)

“How to make Ecocide ethics relevant to the unbearably privileged”

Mickey Gjerris, M.Th., PhD, Associate Professor in Bioethics, Section for Consumption, Bioethics, and Governance, Department of Food and Resource Economics, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen. Mickey's research focuses on the relationship between humans and nature with regard to climate change, biotechnology, food production, animal ethics etc.

10:15-10:45 Coffee

10:45-11:45 Global values (A Global Ethical Perspective) 

“Dilemmas of Coherence: (Human) Rights and Climate Justice in the 21st Century”

Carolyn Stephens. Honorary Professor of Urban and Global Health in the UCL Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London. Visiting Full Professor of Ecology and Global Health, National University of Tucuman, Argentina. Her research has focused principally on links of urban equity, environment and health, and on social and environmental justice for disadvantaged communities internationally. Stephens has lived and worked in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and has advised international UN agencies, including WHO, UNEP, UNDP, UNICEF, UNHabitat. 

‘Why does climate change call for ethical analysis?

John Broome. Emeritus White’s Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford and Honorary Professor at the Australian National University. One of two philosophers involved in writing the ICCP 5th Assessment report. Author of Climate Matters: ethics in a warming world and ‘Against denialism’, The Monist, 102 (2019), pp. 110–29.

11:45-12:15 Moderated Conversations with Stakeholders

Moderator: Ellen Svenson, MA-student in Philosophy and Bioethics, Umeå University. Awarded the student of the year in Humanities 2022.

Amanda Björksell, youth representative to the UN climate conferenced COP26 in Glasgow, appointed by the National Council for Swedish Youth Organisations, LSU. Student at SLU and active in Green Party (MP) Sweden.

Elle Merete Omma, head of the Saami Council EU Unit. Previously she held the position of Executive Secretary of the Arctic Council Indigenous Peoples Secretariat. Prior to her work with the Arctic Council she was Senior Advisor on Sámi Affairs at the Norwegain Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation.

12:15-13:00  Panel discussions with the speakers