If Climate Change is an Emergency, Medical Communities Must Prioritize It

By path2positive

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) will take place in Paris this December, in response to the growing global threat of climate change. The aim of the conference is to create a legally binding agreement on climate from all nations across the globe. The success of COP21 has everything to do with how well the world's countries can negotiate, and we know that's not easy.

The U.S. certain contributes its fair share of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Ironically, U.S. hospitals burn through tremendous amounts of fossil fuel energy in order to operate. Health care professionals are regularly treating symptoms of climate change from rises in vector-borne illnesses to worsening of asthma and allergies, to cardiovascular disease, just to name a few. Health care's contributions to climate change are not only counterproductive, but they're contradictory. Now, a forward thinking group of health care leaders have come together to form the 2020 Healthcare Climate Challenge to pledge to protect public health from climate problems. Doesn't this just make sense? Climate for Health thinks so. Click here to read the pledge.

Why We Need Hospitals to Help Lead the Fight Against Climate Change

Huffington Post

By Joshua Karliner I September 28, 2015

As we approach COP21 in Paris this December, leading health authorities are recognizing climate change as one of the great public health crises of our time. So it's quite the paradox that health care contributes much more than it should to rising global temperatures.

Every year, to simply operate, hospitals must burn through gigatons of fossil fuel energy. This doesn't just contribute to global warming, it also creates the kind of local air pollution that kills seven million people every year. That's more than double the toll of HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined.

It's a vicious and ironic cycle and, there is a pressing need for doctors, nurses, hospitals, and health systems around the world to respond to this emergency.

Many are already stepping up to the plate and forging essential, sustainable solutions. Major U.S. health systems such as Kaiser Permanente, Dignity Health, and Partners Health Care are taking aggressive steps to reduce their carbon footprint and are leading not just within the health care sector, but are setting an example for private and public sector leaders across the board.

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