A hospital at dusk

Healthcare project tackles carbon emissions amid climate crisis

21 June 2024
New initiative aims to reduce healthcare's carbon footprint and influence national policy.
Researchers at the University of Sydney are launching a project to reduce carbon emissions in healthcare. Led by Professor Danielle Celermajer, Professor David Celermajer, and Dr Fabian Sack, the initiative will measure healthcare emissions, develop tools for sustainable practices, and influence national public health policy.

Climate change is having a devastating impact on global health, with future effects expected to intensify and worsen existing health conditions, leading to substantially increased rates of both morbidity and mortality. 

Despite this, healthcare systems contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 5% globally and 7% in Australia. Although governments are committed to decarbonisation, the healthcare sector currently lacks the knowledge and policy tools to reduce emissions effectively.

As the healthcare sector grapples with its environmental footprint, the ‘Reducing the healthcare system’s carbon footprint’ project comes at a crucial time. Led by Professor Danielle Celermajer and Professor David Celermajer, with the recent appointment of Academic Research Project Director Dr Fabian Sack, the project will focus on measuring emissions produced by common medical activities, identifying the best way to communicate carbon costs and influence environmental change in healthcare.

To achieve these aims, the project is seeking to appoint two postdoctoral fellows to advance research on measuring carbon emissions from healthcare services.  

One position will be in collaboration with the Central Clinical School and will identify ways to drive systemic change, as well as implementing some scalable interventions. 

The other position will be in collaboration with the Integrated Sustainability Analysis team in the School of Physics and will be developing ways to quantify the systemic carbon footprint of medical activities.

A key component of the project is building robust partnerships with stakeholders, including health consumers, clinicians, hospital executives, and federal health policy advisors.  

The project is expected to influence national public health policies and promote sustainable practices across the healthcare sector. By integrating environmental considerations into health services, this project sets a benchmark for other sectors aiming to combat climate change effectively.

The postdoctoral positions are currently open for applications.

Header image: Stock ID 387912280

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