Climatically optimized health care

The health care sector needs to explore its own contribution to climate change and the impact of climate change on public health. This means reducing our emissions to zero and adapting now so that our health care systems are prepared for the new burdens that climate change will inevitably lead to.

Climate change is the greatest threat to public health care in the 21st century. The effects of global climate processes on health are complex and include disease, death and injury due to extreme temperatures and weather events, changes in vectors of infectious diseases, an increase in waterborne diseases and widespread exposure to air pollution. The WHO estimates that climate change is already causing 150,000 deaths a year.

There can be little doubt that the climate crisis is, in particular, a health crisis.

“Do no harm” is the motto of the health care system. But this industry, which is tasked with protecting patients from problems, including climate change, also makes a major contribution to these processes. The health care sector accounts for 4.4% of global net emissions. If it were a separate country, it would be the fifth largest source of emissions on the planet. shutterstock 1450730717

Our vision is to transform the health care sector into a zero-carbon, climate-resilient sector that protects public health from climate change and accelerates the transition to a low-carbon economy.

For this industry, the fight against climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed in two ways. First, the sector must take responsibility for the impact of its own emissions on our health and take actions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. Second, as a leading service to address the effects of climate change on health, the health care sector must understand climate risks and take them into account in business plans, recognizing the concomitant benefits of both mitigation and actions to ensure sustainability.

In addition, health professionals can be powerful advocates for change, influencing politicians and other sectors. Their voices are especially important, and nurses and doctors are always recognized as the most trusted professionals.

Therefore, a key component of work of the team of the Foundation “Blue Bird” is to mobilize health professionals to use this trusted voice in educating colleagues, patients, the public, and politicians.

Other activities under our Health Climate Optimization Program include advocacy and education to influence policy in Ukraine, support the authorities in developing health decarbonization roadmaps, and work with hospitals to improve their carbon and sustainability management practices.