HHS announces pledge to mobilize health care sector to reduce emissions

  • US & Canada

Contact: press@hcwh.org, Rob Gough, Climate Communications Manager, Health Care Without Harm

HHS announces pledge to mobilize health care sector to reduce emissions

WASHINGTON (April 22, 2022) – Today, on Earth Day, the Biden administration issued a call to action to the health care sector to join a pledge to commit to emissions reduction and climate resilience. The pledge will accelerate the COP26 Health Programme commitments made by the United States to decarbonize our health care system and ensure our facilities and communities are climate-resilient. 

Signatories will pledge to, at a minimum: (1) reduce their organization’s emissions by 50% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 and publicly report on their progress; (2) complete an inventory of Scope 3 (supply chain) emissions; and (3) develop climate resilience plans for their facilities and communities. The pledge also asks them to designate an executive lead for this work.

Health care is at the front line of the response to the climate crisis, caring for communities before and after the heat waves, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires we are seeing frequently across the country. Health care's energy- and resource-intensive operations contribute significantly to climate change. The U.S. health sector is responsible for 8.5% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 27% of the global health care footprint.

Statement from Gary Cohen, Health Care Without Harm founder: 

We have reached a transformative moment for the health sector, thanks to the Biden administration's leadership. We applaud the health sector leaders who join this pledge to reduce emissions, increase resilience, and protect those disproportionately impacted by climate change. The journey to a more just, low-carbon economy can accelerate with support from the sector whose mission it is to do no harm and heal.

Our affiliate network Practice Greenhealth has been working with over 1,400 hospitals and health systems and we are thrilled to support our health system partners who sign onto the pledge with resources, such as our Scope 3 GHG emissions accounting tool, to reduce their carbon footprints and prepare their facilities and communities for climate impacts. 

About Health Care Without Harm
Health Care Without Harm seeks to transform health care worldwide so the sector reduces its environmental footprint and becomes a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.