Healthy Hospitals, Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Addressing Climate Change in Health Care Settings (pdf)
HCWH's co-founder Gary Cohen is a recipient of the prestigious Skoll Award. This video, chronicling the evolution of HCWH's work, premiered at the 2009 Skoll World Forum. enlarge video
Many measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will have surprising health co-benefits. This is above and beyond the benefits to come from reducing climate change itself. enlarge video
Co-Benefits of Climate Mitigation
Important economic and health co-benefits result from reducing the health sector's climate footprint.
The potential economic benefits of reducing the health sector's climate footprint are significant. In recent years, health systems around the world have seen their budgets shaken by volatile energy prices. The cost of fossil fuels promises to increase further in the years to come, so conservation, efficiency and alternative energy measures will carry long-term financial benefits.
Moreover, fossil fuel combustion associated with building energy use and transportation produces not only global warming gasses such as carbon dioxide, but also a series of other pollutants that add to the environmental burden of disease. WHO reports document how air pollution, water contamination, and other forms of environmental degradation already cause millions of deaths around the world each year - problems that will only grow worse if steps are not taken to mitigate climate change. By reducing its climate footprint, the health sector in many countries can contribute to improving the health and living conditions of populations in heavily polluted areas.
Finally, in many countries, emphasis on primary health care demonstrably lowers the need for more resource-intensive therapies later on. By reducing the demand for more intensive therapies through disease prevention strategies, the climate footprint of the health sector will also be reduced. This in turn creates a positive spiral, reducing the burden of disease that the health sector's fossil fuel consumption contributes to. In this regard, by reducing the need for energy-intensive health-care services, primary health care and disease prevention can be seen as forms of climate mitigation.
- Climate Change and Human Health: Present and Future Risks (pdf)
- Best Environmental Practices in the Healthcare Sector (pdf) - A Guide to improve the healthcare sector environmental performance
- Energy Star program for Health Care
website of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
- Co-Benefits to Health of a Strong EU Climate Change Policy (pdf)
- Healthy Hospitals, Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Addressing Climate Change in Health Care Settings (pdf)
Aims at addressing the climate footprint of the health sector
- IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- Saving Carbon, Improving Health: NHS Carbon Reduction Strategy for England (pdf)
- Solar clinics in Tanzania (website of Solar Electric Light Fund)
- Stop Trashing the Climate
GAIA Report on Waste and Climate
- World Health Organization website for information about Climate Change and Human Health
Pendo Maro, Senior Climate and Energy Advisor, Health Care Without Harm, and Michael Wilks, board member of HCWH Europe, talk about how investment in reducing greenhouse gases produces immediate and lasting benefits to health. enlarge video