HHS to target carbon emissions from hospitals

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HHS is creating an office tasked with addressing climate change with respect to the healthcare sector, according to an Aug. 30 news release.

HHS' new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity will work with regulators to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution from hospitals, suppliers and other players in the health sector. 

A December 2020 study published in Health Affairs found that greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. healthcare sector grew by 6 percent from 2010 to 2018, the highest of any industrialized nation. 

The office also will work to identify communities that have disproportionate exposure to climate change. The Health Affairs study found that greenhouse gas and air pollution led to the loss of 388,000 life years in 2018. 

"We've always known that health is at the center of climate change, and now we're going to double-down on a necessity: fighting climate change in order to help protect public health in our communities," HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the news release.

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