Health sector hits first target in combating climate change - SDU report

Frances Mortimer's picture

The health sector is over the first hurdle in the race to reach carbon reduction targets and help limit the effects of climate change. 

A report from the Sustainable Development Unit shows the NHS has reduced its carbon emissions by 11% exceeding the 10% target set in 2009.  The wider sector, which also includes public health and social care, has seen a 13% reduction over the same period.

This is good progress especially as health and care activity has increased by 18% over the same period. However more will be needed to reach the Climate Change Act target of 80% by 2050.

Carbon emissions in relation to procurement have reduced by 16% - this is mainly in relation to pharmaceuticals. Travel emissions have reduced by 5% - which also offers the ‘co-benefit’ for health in reducing air pollution, and energy emissions have reduced by 4% which also saved £25m over the year.

To help reach the 2050 target the report also identifies additional opportunities to cut carbon. These include reducing waste, finding alternatives for gases used in some procedures and helping people to make lifestyle changes that prevent ill health in the first place. Many of these opportunities will save money,  improve people’s health and reduce carbon emissions.

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