Published in 2021 in collaboration with Arup, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH)’s Global Road Map for Health Care Decarbonization sets out a broad, overarching guide for the sector to move toward decarbonisation. The Road Map is the first of its kind to chart a global healthcare course to zero emissions by 2050 and is now available in French, Dutch, and six other languages.
Detailed factsheets accompany the Road Map, with information on the health sector emissions of 68 countries and recommendations for achieving zero emissions healthcare. The factsheet for Belgium is now also available in French and Dutch.
Healthcare’s climate footprint
Healthcare’s climate footprint is substantial, equaling 4.4% of net global emissions. Without climate action, by 2050 healthcare’s climate emissions will more than triple to over six gigatons a year, equivalent to the annual emissions of 770 coal-fired power plants.
If countries meet their Paris Agreement commitments, this could cut the projected healthcare emissions growth by 70%, which still leaves a large gap to zero emissions.
A trajectory to zero emissions
The Road Map demonstrates how healthcare can implement seven high-impact actions to further reduce sector emissions by 44 gigatons over 36 years, equivalent to keeping more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil in the ground annually.
The Road Map also identifies distinct trajectories for healthcare decarbonisation for different nations, following the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. This means high-income countries with high emissions healthcare systems will need to decarbonise quicker, whilst low- and middle-income countries can implement climate-smart solutions to develop their health infrastructure, following a less steep trajectory to zero emissions.
HCWH Europe gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Commission Communautaire Commune (COCOM) to translate the Road Map into French and Dutch. HCWH Europe is solely responsible for the content of this project and related materials. The views expressed do not reflect the official views of the COCOM.