Lethal Humidity Global Council’s letter to world leaders

DUBAI, UAE, Dec. 5, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Fortescue Executive Chairman and Founder, Dr Andrew Forrest AO, has joined leading scientists from around the world in signing an open letter to world leaders attending COP28 detailing lethal humidity’s growing threat to humanity.  

The letter from members of the Lethal Humidity Global Council includes the signatures of scientists from India, North America, Australia, the UK, Singapore and Belgium. 

It calls on world leaders to “move beyond all policies that inhibit the development and deployment of renewable technology in order to achieve the defossilisation of our economy”. 

It implores them to back the Positive Power Plan and endorse four key policy shifts that are urgently required to avoid the catastrophes that will come with a continued rise in lethal Humidity. 

Visit the Positive Power Plan website here

For interviews with Dr Forrest at COP28, email [email protected] or phone +61 412 754 310

Media contact:  
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About Fortescue 

Fortescue is focused on becoming the number 1 integrated green energy, metals and technology company, recognised for its culture, innovation and industry-leading development of infrastructure, mining assets and green energy initiatives.
It operates with two divisions – Metals and Energy. 
Fortescue  is  committed  to  producing  green  hydrogen,  containing  zero  carbon,  from  renewable electricity.
Green hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel that, when used, produces primarily water. It is a practical and implementable  solution  that  can  help  revolutionise  the  way  we  power  our  planet:  helping  to decarbonise heavy industry and create jobs globally.
Fortescue is leading the green industrial revolution, building a global portfolio of renewable green hydrogen and green ammonia projects, while also leading the global effort to help decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors. This includes developing and acquiring the technology and energy supply to help decarbonise the Australian iron ore operations of one of the world’s largest producers of iron ore, Fortescue Metals, by 2030 (Scope 1 and 2 terrestrial emissions).


Lethal humidity and heat are already upon us.  
Our actions today will determine how many millions of people die or are forced to migrate. 

World Leaders,

We, the undersigned, come from the world’s leading research and academic institutions, and consist of a diverse range of climate scientists, public health experts, policy makers and industrialists. 

There is scientific consensus that rising humidity and heat pose a serious and growing threat to humanity. At temperatures as low as 30˚C, under conditions of high humidity, the human body struggles to cool down by sweating. Death can result.  

As temperatures increase, so does the potential for episodes of high temperature and high humidity beyond what humans and many mammals – including livestock, an important source of protein globally – can endure for more than a few hours.  

These impacts will not be equitable. Society’s most vulnerable, such as the elderly, young children and the poor, will suffer the most. At population scale, this is called Lethal Humidity and its impacts will be felt globally, especially in tropical and sub-tropical regions. 

Some of the most populous regions on Earth are at risk, including parts of India, China, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mexico, Northern Australia and many other countries across Africa, Asia, South America and Europe  

Rising humidity is also driving some of the most violent weather the world has seen and the threat will only grow as the world gets hotter. We must prepare for abrupt environmental and social change. 

Positive Power

World Leaders, we must move beyond all policies that inhibit the development and deployment of renewable technology in order to achieve the defossilisation of our economy.  

At least four key policy shifts are urgently required:    

Real Zero emissions – decarbonisation without offsets; new oil and gas projects severely restricted; strategic investment in and rapid approval of green energy projects Removal of barriers to green industry, including fossil fuel subsidies, before 2030  Matching of incentives and disincentives to risk with carbon pricing  Economic stimulants to encourage green growth and transformation 

The direct impacts of lethal humidity with heat on human mortality will be widespread, as will the indirect effects associated with loss of labour, migration and geopolitical destabilisation.  As leaders, we must immediately address both – but never one at the expense of the other. 

We can still create a world fit for our children and future generations if we act now.

We call on you to endorse the Positive Power Plan.

Date: 3 December 2023


Dr Sneha Malhotra, Chief Technology Officer, Office of Principal Scientific Advisor,  Government of India 

Professor Steven Sherwood, Atmospheric Sciences, Climate Change Research Centre,  University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia 

Professor Li Zheng, Executive Vice President, Institute of Climate Change, Tsinghua  University 

Professor Somnath Baidya Roy, Head, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Indian Institute  of Technology Delhi 

Professor Peter Huybers, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University   

Dr Guang Zhang, Research Meteorologist, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, USA 

Professor Paromita Chakraborty, Atmospheric pollution, Centre for Research in  Environment, Sustainability Advocacy and Climate Change, Institute of Science and  Technology 

Professor Deqing Zhu, School of Minerals Processing and Bioengineering, Central South University 

Dr Jonathan R. Buzan, Climate Physicist, Climate and Environmental Physics and  Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern, Switzerland 

Professor Sagnik Dey, Institute Chair, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences. Indian Institute of Technology Delhi 

Dr Chloe Brimicombe, Climate Scientist and Extreme Heat Researcher, Karl-Franzens- Universität Graz & University of Reading  

Dr Vidhya Venugopal, Professor & Country Director (NIHR GRC NCD-EC), Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Faculty of Public Health, Sri Ramachandra Institute and Higher Education, Chennai, INDIA 

Emeritus Professor Trevor McDougall AC FRS FAA, University of New South Wales  Sydney Winner Prime Minister’s Prize for Science 2022 

Professor Ambarish Dutta, Epidemiology Indian Institute of Public Health, Bhubaneswar  Public Health Foundation of India 

Professor Nerilie Abram, Climate Science, The Australian National University, Australia 

Professor Arnab Dutta, Interdisciplinary Programme in Climate Studies, IIT Bombay 

Dr James Smith MRCGP FFPH, Sustainability Lead, Cambridge Public Health  Interdisciplinary Research Centre, University of Cambridge 

Professor Ollie Jay, Heat and Health, Director of the Heat and Health Research Incubator,  Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, Australia 

Dr Fahad Saeed, Heat and humidity effects; Regional Lead: South Asia and the Middle East, Climate Analytics 

Dr Amy Booth, Clinician and Researcher, Climate Change and Global Health, Nuffield  Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford  

Professor Sandeep Sukumaran, Centre for Atmospheric Sciences, Yardi School of AI  Indian Institute of Technology Delhi 

Professor Tim Lenton, Climate Change/Earth System Science, Global Systems Institute,  University of Exeter, UK 

Professor Kurian Joseph, Director, Centre for Climate Change and Disaster Management, Centre for Environmental Studies, Department of Civil Engineering, Anna University 

Dr Benjamin Jones, Oxford Centre for Global Health Research, Nuffield Department of  Medicine | University of Oxford 

Dr Andrew Forrest AO, Minderoo Foundation, Tattarang and Fortescue; Honorary  Research Fellow, University of Western Australia [1]

Professor Ken Smith, Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge 

Dr Emma Ramsay, Humid heat in urban settlements, Nanyang Technological University 

Professor Stephen Luby, Department of Medicine, Stanford University 

Scientia Professor Matthew England, FFA Centre for Marine Science & Innovation, 
University of New South Wales Australia 

Dr Brian O’Callaghan, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of 
Oxford; United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; Acadia Infrastructure Capital [2]

Professor Srinivasan Keshav, Computer Science, Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge 

Professor Callum Roberts, Marine Conservation, Centre for Ecology and Conservation,  University of Exeter, UK 

Associate Professor Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, Climate scientist, UNSW Canberra,  Australia 

Professor Katrin Meissner, Climate scientist; Director, Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Australia 

Dr Tony Worby, Chief Scientist, Minderoo Foundation [3]

Dr Shanta Barley, Chief Climate Scientist, Fortescue; Adjunct Lecturer, University of  
Western Australia [4]

Dr Shanta Barley, Chief Climate Scientist, Fortescue; Adjunct Lecturer, University of 
Western Australia

Ms Kylie Walker, CEO Australian Academy of Technological Sciences & Engineering 

Professor Anjal Prakash, Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business 

Professor Michael Ellwood, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National Uni- versity 

Dr Laurence Wainwright, Sustainability, Enterprise & Environment, University of Oxford 

Emeritus Professor Sarah Dunlop, Minderoo Foundation and The University of Western  Australia 

Professor Marilyn Raphael, Geography, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability,  University of California, Los Angeles, USA 

Professor Jacob G. Foster, Sociology, UCLA; External Professor, Santa Fe Institute 

Professor Alastair Iles, Sustainability Transitions Department of Environmental Science,  Policy & Management University of California, Berkeley 

Dr Shannon A. Bonke, Research Fellow of King’s College Cambridge and Department of  Chemistry, University of Cambridge 

Professor Douglas McCauley, Director, Benioff Ocean Science Laboratory, University of  California Santa Barbara 

Dr John Hunter, Climate and sea level scientist, University of Tasmania 

Dr Larry Marshall, Director, Fortescue; Chair, American Chamber of Commerce in  Australia; Governing Council of Australian National University 

Dr Vishal Dixit, Interdisciplinary Programme in Climate Studies, IIT Bombay, India 

Professor Kamiar Mohaddes, Judge Business School & Kings College, University of  Cambridge 

Professor Anne-Louise Ponsonby, Head, Neuroepidemiology Research Group, The  Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health 

Professor Stephen F. Ackley, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Texas San Antonio, Fellow of the American Geophysical Union 

Bodhi Patil, Youth Ambassador, Dept. Environment & Sustainability, University of British  Columbia 

Professor Jean-Louis Tison, DSTE-IGEOS-Glaciology laboratory – Université Libre de  Bruxelles, Belgium 

Professor Ian Allison, D.Sc., FAA, University of Tasmania, Australia 

Dr Maria Luiza Pedrotti, National Centre for Scientific Research, Sorbonne 

[1] This entity invests in green energy and green hydrogen 

[2] This entity invests in reliable clean energy and decarbonization projects in North America 

[3] This entity is a philanthropic organisation  

[4] This entity invests in green energy and green hydrogen