Climate, health care, and the race to zero: An urgent call to action

Elsevier, The Journal of Climate Change and Health, Volume 4, 2021, 100050
Amy Collins, Shanda Demorest, Jonathan E. Slutzman

A warming planet poses grave threats to public health worldwide. Recent events such as heat waves and wildfires in the western United States, Canada, and Greece, along with calamitous floods in Germany and China, have made clear the devastating reality of living on a planet warmed almost 1.1°C since pre-industrial times [1]. The Sixth Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a “code red for humanity,” warning that we are dangerously close to exceeding the critical increase of 1.5°C in the next two decades, in the absence of rapid mitigation [1]. To prevent the most catastrophic health effects of climate change, urgent reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are needed from all sectors to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, along with those of the Race to Zero: to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 [2]. The health care sector is not exempt from this charge.