As the Paris Agreement Comes into Effect, Health Care Leaders Join to Turn Promise into Climate Action

With the Paris Agreement recently having entered into force, just in time before the start of COP22, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) is mobilizing hospitals and health systems around the world to be leaders in implementing the Paris treaty by fostering green, low carbon, climate resilient health care. With this being the initial step, HCWH is also calling on health systems to be carbon neutral by 2050.

As COP22 kicks off in Marrakech, the health sector has an opportunity to turn promise into climate action. During the COP and beyond, HCWH will continue to call on the health sector worldwide to promote climate smart healthcare hat protects local and global health from climate change.

The 2015 Paris Agreement recognized the need to protect the health of people and the planet by shifting the world economy towards greater sustainability and equity.  It provided a foundation—agreed upon by all the world’s governments—to address climate change.   It is a foundation that can, and needs to be built upon by all parties in coming years.

In the lead-up to COP21, 50 health care institutions from 16 countries, representing over 8,000 hospitals, adopted the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge, committing to dramatically reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and exercise leadership in tackling climate change.  The 2020 Challenge is a program of HCWH’s Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) network.

A year later, the 2020 Challenge has grown to include 130 health care institutions, representing more than 9,000 hospitals and health centers in 23 countries, pledging to reduce their carbon footprint, become climate resilient anchors in their communities, and pursue both political and economic solutions to foster climate smart, low carbon health care. These members have come together to demonstrate leadership and commit  to a combined  annual reductions of 12 million metric tons of CO2e by 2020.

On November 14th, some of these 2020 Challenge participants will be speak at the Climate and Health Care Conference, a one-day event co-organized by GGHH and 2020 Challenge Participant and GGHH member, the Mohammed VI University Hospital of Marrakech. This conference will bring together health sector representatives and experts from around the world to discuss the integral role of health care in the global fight against climate change. The event will also feature a rich series of panels, with speakers from a diversity of regions sharing their in-depth experiences of how they foster low carbon health care through renewable energy, purchasing, economics, and policy.

Health care has a moral obligation to provide climate leadership, and COP22 is an opportunity for the sector to turn leadership into action and further promote health and healing at home and in the world. There cannot be healthy people and healthy communities without a healthy planet. We must do our part to mitigate our own climate impacts, become more climate resilient, and lead by example.

Article by Alejandra Livschitz

Lead by Example, Make your Climate Commitment Official!

Today, just as the governments of the world did, make you commitment to take action on climate change official. Join the 2020 Health Care Climate Challenge!