Harvard leads the way on decarbonizing health care

Harvard Medical School, teaching hospitals, clinical institutes sign joint commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing the carbon footprint of health care institutions is a critical step toward broader efforts to curb the effects of climate change. About 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change stem from burning fossil fuels, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Burning fossil fuels also releases harmful air pollutants, such as particulate matter and ozone, which can worsen many diseases, including respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.

This is why, under the leadership of Harvard Medical School Dean George Q. Daley and physicians Ashish K. Jha and Aaron Bernstein of the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI), all Harvard- affiliated hospitals and clinical institutes, representing more than 25 individual facilities, have agreed to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 

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