Climate Change and HealthCoda EarthEmergency MedicineSustainable healthcareThe NHS: net-zero emissions by 2040

The NHS has committed to net-zero emissions by 2040, for the carbon emissions that they control directly. Furthermore, they set a target of 2045 for the broader emissions that they can influence.

So why is the NHS doing this?

It has heeded the science pointing to the climate emergency as the biggest health threat of the 21st century.

Nine in ten NHS staff say that they want to see the NHS act more sustainably.

What is a net-zero target?

As the title suggests Net Zero emissions mean achieving a balance between the production and removal of Green House Gas emissions (GHG).

For the NHS this requires action to remove emissions across an ambitious and wide supply chain… from buildings to pharmaceuticals, MRI scanners, syringes, inhalers, and so on.

It also includes the emissions that come from the patients, from visitors, from travel to and from the NHS, and from emissions well beyond the borders of the UK.

So how will this be achieved?

The NHS has an 80% reduction target by 2028.

Most importantly, it will only commit to companies that meet or exceed their commitments on climate change.

It has approved a national design for a hydrogen ambulance, the world’s first zero-emission ambulance, and new hospitals, with a visionary goal of being net-zero hospitals. There’s a lot we can learn from the NHS and their target for net-zero emissions by 2040.

Action is what is needed to improve the health of our community


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Tim Buckley

Tim has 30 years financial markets experience, including providing public interest related financial analysis in the seaborne coal and electricity sectors for IEEFA since 2013, studying energy efficiency and renewables across China and India, and the resulting stranded asset risks in Australia. Tim was co-founder of a start-up global listed clean energy equities fund with Westpac as a cornerstone investor. From 1998 to 2007 Tim was Managing Director at Citigroup, Head of Australasian Equity Research, and worked at Macquarie Group in Australia then Deutsche Bank in Singapore as a top rated equity analyst since 1988.


Nick Watts

Nick Watts is the Chief Sustainability Officer of the NHS, responsible for its commitment to deliver a world-class net zero emission health service. Based in London, he leads the Greener NHS team across the country, which focuses on improving the health of patients and the public through a robust and accelerated response to climate change and the broader sustainability agenda. Nick is a medical doctor licensed in Australia and the UK, and has trained population health and public policy. Prior to the National Health Service, Nick worked internationally as the Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown and the Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change, a collaboration of UN agencies and academic centres across the world. He has also focused on engaging the health profession on the links between public health and climate change, having founded both the Global Climate and Health Alliance and the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.


Dan Gocher

Dan Gocher is ACCR’s Director of Climate & Environment. Dan spent fifteen years in investment banking and asset management. More recently, he was the asset management campaigner at the environmental NGO Market Forces. Dan is an expert in corporate lobbying, climate risk disclosure, and engagement and proxy voting. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Sydney.

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Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is an Emergency Physician in Canada’s subarctic, President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, Chair of the advocacy subcommittee of the WHO-Civil Society Working Group on Climate Change and Health, is on the Steering Committee for the Planetary Health Alliance and is Policy Coordinator for ClimateCODA. She has led research on menstrual cups and wildfires, was the 2018 International Policy Coordinator for the Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change, and has participated in advocacy around divestment, carbon pricing, active transport, plant-rich diets, coal phase-out, hydraulic fracturing, wildfires, and the mental health impacts of climate change. Her mentors in mischievous change-making are her two hilarious daughters, with whom she can frequently be found dancing to indefensible pop music.