Doctors are alarmed, but not surprised, at data estimating the significant carbon footprint of our health care system - over 7% of Australia’s total carbon footprint.
Climate change is a health problem. It is considered to be one of the greatest health threats of the 21st century. The health sector should be leading the way in minimising this health threat, yet it appears to be a significant contributor to the problem.
Recently published research in The Lancet Planetary Health, co-authored by DEA member Dr Forbes McGain and lead by researchers at the University of Sydney, is the first of its kind to evaluate Australia’s health care environmental impact. Of the 7% of CO2 emissions from Australia’s health care, hospitals are responsible for 44%, pharmaceuticals for 19%, capital expenditure 8%, community and public health 6% and general practice 4%.
It is time Australia had a coordinated approach to address and decrease carbon emissions from our health system to protect the health of present and future generations.