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Children’s Health and the Peril of Climate Change

by Frederica Perera

Frederica Perera participated in the Bellagio residency program in 2018. During this residency, she worked on Children’s Health and the Peril of Climate Change (Oxford University Press, 2022). Frederica is Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health and Founding Director of the Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia University. She is the author of over 350 peer-reviewed articles.

Quote from Children’s Health and the Perils of Climate Change

“It is my hope that readers will become active participants in the climate fight when they clearly see the toll of inaction on our children and, conversely, the enormous benefits in terms of avoided deaths and illness and a sustainable future for them if we act. That we will act to protect our children’s health and future, avoiding the fate of being the first generation in human history to knowingly leave our children in peril.”


Today, approximately two billion children breathe toxic air at levels exceeding standards set by the World Health Organization, causing immediate and long-term physical and mental health effects. Simultaneously, nearly every child around the world is at risk from at least one climate-related shock such as severe heat, flooding, drought, air pollution, forest fires, water scarcity, and displacement. Air pollution and climate change, largely driven by emissions from fossil fuels, are widening inequality in children’s health.

Children’s Health and the Peril of Climate Change brings to light the mental and physical harms to children’s health inflicted by climate change and our addiction to fossil fuels. Perera goes on to present a roadmap to a brighter future, providing case studies of climate change and air pollution policies that have benefitted children’s health and the economy, and shares the growing power of advocacy by youth, environmental justice, and Indigenous groups. Children’s Health and the Peril of Climate Change highlights the need for integrated climate and social policies to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon future.

Explore More

To find out more about Frederica’s work, you can listen to her discuss climate-crisis related children’s health concerns on an episode of The Healthcare Policy Podcast, or watch her discuss the book in a conversation with Capita.

To engage with the themes from the book, Frederica encourages you to visit the Clinton Climate Initiative website.