Dear Mr. President:
In 2020, our health care systems faced the challenges of both a global pandemic and the growing infrastructure and health impacts from climate change. As leaders of 18 U.S. health care systems with hospitals in 34 states, we are seeing these impacts firsthand, challenging our ability to deliver care and harming the health and livelihoods of our patients and communities, especially the most vulnerable.
There are common solutions to address these crises and the administration can take immediate action to support the nation’s economic recovery while simultaneously building a more resilient health care system, mitigating the carbon footprint of health care operations, ensuring all communities are resilient to the impacts of climate change, and addressing the health and economic disparities in our society.
Tremendous opportunities exist for health care to decarbonize and drive community resilience. Health care is both a major contributor to climate pollution - responsible for 8.5% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions - and is at the center of responding to the health impacts of climate change. Health care systems are often among the largest employers and real estate owners in communities, and the largest purchaser of goods and services. Health care systems can leverage their purchasing power, 18% of U.S. GDP, to transform markets, decarbonize supply chains, and spur economy-wide change.