Healthcare systems account for 4% of global CO2 emission, study says

Healthcare systems account for more than 4 percent of carbon dioxide emissions on a global average basis, according to an Oct. 24 report from the World Economic Forum.

The number climbs to about 10 percent of national emissions for most industrialized nations, which is more than the aviation or shipping sectors, according to the report. Hospitals have the highest energy intensity of all publicly funded buildings and emit 2.5 times more greenhouse gasses than commercial buildings. 

The report details the following six actions health systems can implement to reduce emissions and lower their carbon footprint:

  1. Reduce healthcare's climate footprint by taking immediate action to reduce individual facility emissions. 
  2. Support a societal transition to clean, renewable energy by advocating for a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels. 
  3. Chart the course for zero emissions healthcare by 2050. 
  4. Make development assistance for health climate-smart by integrating climate-smart principles and strategies into their health aid, lending, and policy guidance for developing countries. 
  5. Establish and implement government action plans for climate-smart healthcare by building on existing initiatives to establish action plans to decarbonize health systems.
  6. Expand research on healthcare and climate change. 

Read the World Economic Forum Healthcare Climate Footprint report here.

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