The Biden administration is making a first-of-its-kind ask of the health-care sector: to act on climate change. However, the pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is voluntary, making researchers and advocates question how effective it will be.

The Department of Health and Human Services is asking that hospitals, health suppliers, drug companies, and other industry participants sign a pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, inventory their supply chain emissions, and develop a climate resilience plan for their facilities.

The US health-care system accounts for 8.5% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a 2020 paper. Hospitals are frequently among the largest employers in their communities and are often one of the highest drivers of carbon emissions. . .

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