It’s no secret that the impending climate crisis is already having an increasingly negative impact on public health. Respiratory and cardiovascular diseases have been linked to worsening air quality, while extreme weather events have led to injuries and premature deaths. Climate change has also altered the prevalence and geographical prevalence of certain infectious diseases. The mental health effects of these events, and the very real risk that they will only become more frequent and more devastating as the years pass, is likely immeasurable.
While hospitals and medical innovators offer products and services that are part of the solution, they are also part of the problem. The global healthcare sector makes a significant contribution to climate change, through things like energy consumption, transport and the manufacturing, use and disposal of products. A 2019 report from Arup found that healthcare’s climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4% of global new emissions, the equivalent of two gigatons of carbon dioxide a year. If the health sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest emitter in the world. . .
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