Research Topic

Population, Environmental Risks, and the Climate Crisis (PERCC)

The Population Council's initiative on Population, Environmental Risks, and the Climate Crisis (PERCC) investigates the complex interactions and dynamics between people and their environment and helps to ensure that climate programs and policies are progressive, inclusive, and rooted in the principles of equity. 


PERCC harnesses evidence to build resilient, sustainable, and equitable communities, able to adapt to and mitigate the climate crisis. We envision a future where communities are fully equipped to adapt to climate change and where people can sustain healthy lives and thrive. 

Gender equality and adolescent health & well-being 

Women and adolescent girls, especially those who face intersecting inequalities, are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis. PERCC: 

  • Delivers a framework to elucidate climate triggers, for women and girls, and their immediate and downstream effects. 
  • Conducts multidisciplinary research on how the climate crisis exacerbates gendered social, economic, and health inequalities across generations, and promotes gender-differentiated biodiversity conservation around the globe. 
  • Identifies research and action to advance gender equality, access to education, and adolescent well-being by building resilience and coping skills, and promoting leadership and livelihoods.
Harmonized demographic & climate modeling 

Population projections and predictive models of population dynamics (including migration, urbanization, health, and mortality) can identify the people and places that are most vulnerable to climate change. Data can be used to develop policies and programs for climate justice. PERCC:

  • Builds analytic tools such as the Community Demographic Model for evaluating the impact of short- and long-term strategies and policies on demographic, socioeconomic, and environmental development pathways. 
  • Integrates demographic projections with climate outcomes and environmental hazards, highlighting disparities and hotspots. 
  • Applies machine learning, spatial-temporal modeling, and exploratory data analyses to predict the effects of climate change on health outcomes. 
Sustainable livelihoods for economic empowerment 

As the world transitions to clean energy economies, billions of people who work in extractive industries are at risk of being left behind. Policies and programs on transition pathways must be socially and environmentally just and designed to safeguard the livelihoods of current and future generations. PERCC: 

  • Investigates adaptation strategies to alleviate climate-induced poverty and food insecurity—evaluating initiatives in agriculture, clean air, renewable energy, and livelihood diversification to prevent humanitarian climate crises and economic insecurity. 
  • Explores the impact of education and livelihood opportunities to support women and girls and adaptation to droughts, storms, and heat exacerbated by climate change.  
  • Generates evidence on opportunities and barriers to just transitions, developing frameworks and guidelines to ensure social inclusion in the green economy. 

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