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Giving Compass' Take:
• Pacific Standard explores how the health-care industry contributes to climate change through waste and pollution — and how some providers are trying to be part of the solution.
• Some hospitals employ a sustainability officer, while others seek out clean energy to power facilities. How can nonprofits help support such efforts?
Delegates from over 200 nations met in Katowice, Poland, this month, to discuss strategies on further reducing greenhouse gases. Much of the discussion centered around reductions in industries like mining and manufacturing. Little, if any, mention was made of the health-care industry — despite the fact that it's among the planet's more significant polluters.
While the causal link between health care and climate change isn't much discussed, the causal relationship between climate change and health is. The World Health Organization has long warned about the perilous effects, of climate change on human beings — poor air quality, for example, is linked to lung disease, food shortages, increases in malnutrition disease, and increases in vector-borne illnesses. And this is a problem that's only predicted to grow in severity: WHO projects that, between the years 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year ...
Health-care professionals have brought much-needed attention to the harm that climate change can cause on human health. The very system that has helped bring attention to climate change is also driving it, however. In a recent study, published by the American Journal of Public Health, researchers reported that the health-care system in the United States was responsible for between 9 and 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2013.
Read the full article about the much-ignored emissions costs of health care by Colleen Chierici at Pacific Standard.