The health care industry focuses on healing. Yet its pursuit of that mission can cause harm. The harm caused by medical errors is well known. Largely unknown is the hidden harm caused by the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

An estimated 10% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the health care industry. Largely due to fine particulate matter (particles smaller than 2.5 microns, known as PM2.5), which result from burning fossil fuels, the industry’s carbon emissions account for approximately 100,000 US deaths annually and approximately three times that number worldwide.

report published in May by the National Resources Defense Council concluded that burning fossil fuels causes $800 billion in health care spending annually, a cost disproportionately borne by the Medicare and Medicaid programs and its beneficiaries. . .

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