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Susan Clayton serves as lead author in major scientific report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Susan Clayton

Susan Clayton, Whitmore-Williams Professor of Psychology at The College of Wooster, was a lead author in a major scientific report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the United Nations. The comprehensive report, written by 270 researchers from 67 countries, describes the perils of climate change and the negative impacts felt around the world. It is the sixth Assessment Report from the IPCC and was published on Monday, Feb. 28. 

Clayton was a lead author of the chapter titled, “Health, Wellbeing, and the Changing Structure of Communities,” which says that “climate related illnesses, premature deaths, malnutrition in all its forms, and threats to mental health and wellbeing are increasing.” This most recent IPCC assessment was the first to study research about the impact climate change has on mental health. 

Clayton discussed this topic with NBC News, saying, “Mental health affects physical health. It’s very hard to separate the two. People experiencing mental health threats might engage in more risky behavior. They might not take care of their physical health or put themselves more at risk.” 

Clayton’s most recent research has focused on the effects of climate change on mental health. She recently commented on the idea of “eco-anxiety” in a New York Times piece published on Feb. 6 following the publication of a study in the medical journal, The Lancet, by Clayton and other colleagues that examined survey results from 10,000 young people in 10 countries. 

“Most, if not all, countries don’t have sufficient support for mental health in their general health systems,” she told NBC News following release of the IPCC report. 

António Guterres, the United Nations secretary general, called the report “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,” according to the New York Times. He added, “with fact upon fact, this report reveals how people and the planet are getting clobbered by climate change.” 

The IPCC report published on Monday details the urgency needed in addressing climate change, which has already had drastic effects around the world with poorer countries withstanding the worst of the human costs. The report makes recommendations to world leaders to pursue strategies immediately to combat climate change and slow the rising global temperatures. 

Published Feb. 28, 2022

Posted in News.


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