HHS Reopens Health Sector Climate Pledge
Health sector organizations are invited to join 100+ organizations which, combined with Federal Health Systems, represent over 15% of all US hospitals, in making commitments to emissions reduction and climate resilience.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) announced that the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge will accept new signatories on an ongoing basis. The announcement comes after multiple health sector stakeholders requested to join the initiative following its October 2022 deadline.
Originally launched last spring, the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge is a voluntary commitment to reduce emissions and improve climate resilience. Signing organizations agree to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The health care sector accounts for 8.5% of U.S. emissions, so these bold commitments advance President Biden’s goal to reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% in 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Organizations that sign the Pledge will be recognized through two announcements this year: in an Earth Day announcement if they sign by April 12 and in an announcement around the time of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) if they sign by November 1. Organizations can sign the Pledge here.
In 2022, 102 organizations representing 837 hospitals signed the Pledge. In addition to hospitals, these stakeholders include health centers, suppliers, insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and more. Federal systems like the Indian Health Service, Veterans Health Administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Military Health System within the Department of Defense are working together to meet similar goals to those these private sector organizations have embraced, in fulfillment of President Biden’s broader decarbonization vision. Combined, this means that over 1,080 federal and private sector hospitals have made such commitments, together representing over 15% of U.S. hospitals.
HHS continues to provide the health sector with information and guidance on climate resilience and emissions reduction. Available resources include OCCHE’s compendium of federal climate resources for the health sector and an associated webinar series. These supports cover topics such as financing resources available to aid facility investments in sustainable infrastructure development and tools to bolster emergency preparedness and response. Other important resources include the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Primer on Measures and Actions for Healthcare Organizations to Mitigate Climate Change, the Million Hearts Climate Change and Cardiovascular Disease Collaborative (CCC), and OCCHE’s Climate and Health Outlook, a seasonal forecast for health combining weather projections with county-level health indicators. HHS expects to introduce exciting new supports in the coming months and interested parties can also review the White House Guidebook to the Inflation Reduction Act’s Investments in Clean Energy and Climate Action, which documents opportunities for climate action created by that landmark legislation.