Doctors for the Environment Australia welcomes the launch of Healthcare Without Harm’s global road map for healthcare decarbonisation. The report highlights how “all countries’ health systems will need to reach zero emissions by 2050.” Countries with large health sector carbon footprints, like Australia where healthcare contributes about 7% of Australia’s total carbon footprint, need to “reduce emissions the most rapidly and steepest.”
The report outlines seven key actions for achieving healthcare decarbonisation that align with DEA’s recent call for net zero emissions within Australian healthcare, as outlined in DEA’s report: Net zero carbon emissions: responsibilities, pathways and opportunities for Australia’s healthcare sector
In conjunction with the Australian Medical Association, DEA are calling for an 80% reduction in emissions by 2030, with net zero emissions by 2040. Transitioning to 100% clean renewable electricity without fossil gas for hospitals, investment in zero emissions buildings and infrastructure and establishing a national Sustainable Healthcare Unit to coordinate and measure outcomes are central for healthcare to begin contributing meaningfully toward national and state/territory net zero emissions efforts.
Dr Hayden Burch, co-author of DEAs net zero emissions report, says that “given health care is dedicated to promoting health, preventing disease, and delivering health care services that restore and maintain health, it is therefore critical for the healthcare sector to reduce and ultimately eliminate its direct contribution to the climate crisis—the biggest health threat of this century.”
By taking on the greenhouse gases they are directly responsible for, hospitals and health systems can save money, clean up their own house, and provide leadership for the sector overall.