Since the industrial revolution, anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have risen
dramatically. As the most significant contributory factor to our changing climate, these gases
have profound consequences for both planetary and human health.
Climate change is already having severe impacts on our health. These include temperature-related illness and death, injuries and illnesses due to extreme weather events, the spread of infectious disease vectors, increases in waterborne illnesses, and wide-ranging impacts from air pollution.
The healthcare sector is on the frontline for dealing with these health impacts. However, as a
major emitter, the sector itself is contributing to the problem. In 2019, and in partnership with Arup, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) published Health Care’s Climate Footprint1
– the most comprehensive global analysis of healthcare’s contribution to the climate crisis to date. Setting out the healthcare climate footprints of 43 different countries from around the globe, this report highlights the scale of the challenge. As a whole, the global healthcare sector’s climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4% of global net emissions and if it were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter in the world. . .
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