On June 10, 2021, Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) - Southeast Asia, with health ministry representatives, health care practitioners and climate action advocates from the region and beyond, launched HCWH's Global Road Map for Health Care Decarbonization in South-east Asia. The Road Map is a navigational tool for achieving zero emissions with climate resilience and health equity.
According to Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of HCWH-SEA, "The Decarbonization Roadmap, which was produced in partnership with Arup, will help hospitals address not only their carbon emissions but also the need to build resilience in hospitals and communities, a lesson we have painfully learnt from climate-induced disasters and the pandemic."
In line with the Roadmap's country fact sheets, the health care sector of just six countries in South-East Asia contributes over 63 million metric tons to global carbon emissions per year. This covers Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines and Malaysia with 2014 as the base year. Taiwan’s and South Korea’s emissions were 12.3 MMT and South Korea 37.3 MMT, respectively.
As a step forward, the Roadmap demonstrates how seven high-impact actions across three pathways for health care facilities, the supply chain and the wider economy can reduce sector emissions by 44.8 gigatons of carbon emissions over 36 years (2014-2050), equivalent to keeping more than 2.7 billion barrels of oil in the ground each year. The seven high-impact actions are: (1) Power health care with 100% clean, renewable electricity; (2) Invest in zero emissions buildings and infrastructure; (3) Transition to zero emissions, sustainable travel and transport; (4) Provide healthy, sustainably grown food; (5) Incentivize and produce low-carbon pharmaceuticals; (6) Implement circular health care and sustainable health care waste management; (7) Establish greater health system effectiveness.
The virtual launch featured the following speakers:
- JOSH KARLINER, International Director of Program and Strategy, HCWH Global
- OWEN JENKINS, British Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste, FCDO UK
- JOHANNA WEGERDT, WHO WPRO Climate Change Technical Officer
- ROHAIDA ISMAIL, Public Health Medicine Specialist, Head of Climate Change Unit, Institute for Medical Research, Ministry of Health Malaysia
- RAYNALDY BP, Doctor Champion, RISE Alliance for Health and Climate (Indonesia)
- MADAM SHI-LUN WEI, Deputy Director General, Health Promotion Administration Taiwan
Dr. Rohaida Ismail, Head of the Climate Change Unit at the Institute for Medical Research of the Ministry of Health, Malaysia, acknowledged that, "This Roadmap by HCWH will address the human health risks of climate change by strengthening our healthcare systems to become resilient and low carbon. It is a much needed tool for the healthcare sector to lead by example in this climate crisis."
"It is important that we address the resilience of our health systems and the emissions they are responsible for together. The Roadmap provides a strong foundation. I urge you all to take the opportunity to drive forward real change by supporting these initiatives", expressed by Owen Jenkins, British Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste.
In summary, the climate crisis is a health crisis. In addressing the former, we must address the latter. The health care sector has the potential to take out 44.8 gigatons of CO2 equivalent by 2050 which will contribute significantly to keeping global warming to within 1.5C. Healthcare decarbonization can both heal our people and our planet and we should begin now.
The full Road Map report, high impact interventions and country factsheets are available: https://healthcareclimateaction.org/roadmap
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