Health Institutions Join UN Race to Zero Campaign

Health care institutions representing over 3,000 facilities in 18 countries commit to halving climate emissions by 2030 and achieving net zero by 2050

  • Health care systems across the world join UN Race to Zero in the world-first commitment for ambitious climate action from a sector at the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis.
  • In recognition of the severe health implications of climate change, nearly 40 healthcare institutions representing more than 3,000 hospitals and health centers have credibly committed to halve their own emissions by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions before 2050.
  • Health Care Without Harm’s Road Map for the healthcare sector demonstrates how implementing seven high-impact actions can reduce the sector’s emissions by 44 gigatons over 36 years, equivalent to keeping more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil in the ground each year.

UN Climate Change News, 26 May 2021 – Today, Health Care Without Harm, the Race to Zero health care partner, together with the UN COP25 High Level Climate Champion, Gonzalo Muñoz, will announce the first group of hospitals and health systems joining the Race to Zero campaign. Close to 40 health care institutions worldwide, collectively representing more than 3,000 health care facilities in 18 countries, have made public commitments to halving emissions by 2030 and reaching net zero by no later than 2050 accredited by Race to Zero’s stringent entry criteria.

The health care organizations, spanning six continents, represent diverse institutions including individual hospitals, private health systems, and provincial health departments. These health institutions join other Race to Zero members already in the campaign totaling nearly 4,000, including regions, cities, companies, educational institutions, and investors, and covering over 15% of the global economy. The UN-backed Race to Zero campaign is the largest ever alliance outside of national governments committed to halving global emissions by 2030 and delivering a zero-carbon world in line with the Paris Agreement.

“We’re thrilled that these health institutions have joined the Race to Zero. As healers on the front lines of the climate emergency, their leadership is critical to accelerating the transition to a healthier, cleaner, and more resilient zero-carbon economy,” said Gonzalo Muñoz, UNFCCC Climate Champion.

“The health heroes that are leading us on the road to recovery from the pandemic crisis are the very same who can help lead us out of the climate crisis. They are demonstrating this leadership by forging climate solutions for healthy hospitals and people, and a healthy, more equitable planet,” said Sonia Roschnik, International Climate Policy Director, Health Care Without Harm.

The health institutions have joined the Race to Zero through Health Care Without Harm’s Health Care Climate Challenge. The initiative aims to mobilize health care institutions around the world to play a leadership role in addressing climate change through three pillars of mitigation, resilience, and leadership.

“Joining the Race to Zero means delivering a concrete plan that will allow us to bring environmental action into our everyday work. Our goal is to care for life, through quality medicine, while caring for our planet, which is our common home,” said María Verónica Torres Cerino, Head of the Toxicology and Environment Unit at Hospital Universitario Austral, Argentina.

Health sector decarbonization is critical to reducing global emissions. According to a Health Care Without Harm report, the sector’s climate footprint is equivalent to 4.4% of global net emissions, with the majority originating from fossil fuels used across facility operations, the supply chain, and the broader economy. To guide health care decarbonization, Health Care Without Harm has produced a Road Map that demonstrates how implementing seven high-impact actions can reduce the sector’s emissions by 44 gigatons over 36 years, equivalent to keeping more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil in the ground each year. To realize this collective impact, Health Care Without Harm offers a suite of tools, resources, and collaboration platforms for health care institutions to measure, manage, and reduce their climate footprint.

“In stepping up to join the Race to Zero, these health care institutions send a strong message that the health community is part of the solution. This is what a healthy recovery can look like,” said Maria Neira, WHO Director, Environment, Climate change and Health.

Please attend the webinar to find out which health institutions have joined the Race to Zero.

Time: May 26, 2021, at 3:00 pm UTC.

Register for Launch

Speakers include:

  • Gonzalo Muñoz, UN High Level Climate Champion, COP25
  • Diarmid Campbell-Lendrum, Head of Climate Change Unit, World Health Organization
  • Sonia Roschnik, International Climate Policy Director, Health Care Without Harm
  • Nick Thorp, Network Director, Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, Health Care Without Harm
  • Representatives from health systems in six countries that have joined the Race to Zero

About Health Care Without Harm

Health Care Without Harm works to transform health care worldwide so that it reduces its environmental footprint, becomes a community anchor for sustainability and a leader in the global movement for environmental health and justice.

About Race to Zero

Race to Zero is the UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world in time.

All members are committed to the same overarching goal: reducing emissions across all scopes swiftly and fairly in line with the Paris Agreement, with transparent action plans and robust near-term targets. Led by the High-Level Climate Champions for Climate Action – Nigel Topping and Gonzalo Muñoz – Race To Zero mobilizes actors outside of national governments to join the Climate Ambition Alliance, which was launched at the UNSG’s Climate Action Summit 2019 by the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.

Its sibling campaign – Race to Resilience – was launched at the 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit. It is the UN-backed global campaign to catalyze a step-change in global ambition for climate resilience, putting people and nature first in pursuit of a resilient world where we don’t just survive climate shocks and stresses, but thrive in spite of them.

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