US health sector joins Biden’s pledge to slash emissions by 50% by 2030

The new commitments represent more than 650 hospitals and thousands of other providers across the country, with plans including strengthening climate change resilience, protecting public health and lowering costs

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A total of 61 of the largest US hospital and health sector companies have joined President Joe Biden Administration’s pledge to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.

The new commitments to the Health Sector Climate Pledge – launched by the White House in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – represent more than 650 hospitals, health centres, insurance companies, suppliers and professional associations across the country so far, with plans including strengthening climate change resilience, protecting public health and lowering costs.

Some of the “historic” commitments include two of the five largest US private hospital and health systems – Ascension and CommonSpirit Health – pledging to halve their carbon emissions by 2030 and leading health sector suppliers like Pfizer and AstraZeneca stepping up to achieve net zero emissions ahead of the 2050 pledge timeline.

Major medical associations, including America’s Essential Hospitals, the American Association of Medical Colleges and the National Academy of Medicine, also committed to taking climate action.

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Service said: “Nobody should underestimate the importance of federal and private sector health care leaders joining together to address the impacts of climate change.

“Health care providers already see the undeniable risks to their patients, especially those who already face other economic and health disadvantages. With suppliers and pharmaceutical companies helping decarbonise the supply chain, where so much of the sector’s carbon footprint lies, the health sector is getting a significant jump on addressing one of the key issues of our time.”

The White House and HHS have reopened the Pledge until 28th October 2022 to build on the commitments ahead of the UN climate conference in November.