New report: Global healthcare sector emits 4.4% of world's greenhouse gases

Tuesday 10 September 2019

If the global health care sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet, according to ​Health care’s climate footprint: How the health sector contributes to the global climate crisis and opportunities for action​, a new report by Health Care Without Harm in collaboration with Arup.

Establishing the first-ever estimate of health care’s global climate footprint, the report finds health care’s footprint is equivalent to 4.4% of global net emissions (2 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent). 

Every nation’s health sector directly and indirectly releases greenhouse gases as it delivers care, with fossil fuel combustion making up well over half of health care’s global climate footprint. Overall, health care emissions are equivalent to the annual greenhouse gases produced by 514 coal-fired power plants.

The report makes the case for a transformation of the health care sector to align it with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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