The carbon footprint of Australian healthcare

Dr Forbes McGain, FANZCA, has co-authored a paper showing Australia's healthcare system is responsible for 7% of the country's carbon footprint.

The paper has been published in The Lancet - Planet Health.

In 2014–15 Australia spent $161·6 billion on health care that led to CO2e emissions of about 35 772 (68% CI 25 398–46 146) kilotonnes. Australia's total CO2e emissions in 2014–15 were 494 930 kilotonnes, thus health care represented 35 772 (7%) of 494 930 kilotonnes total CO2e emissions in Australia. The five most important sectors within health care in decreasing order of total CO2e emissions were: public hospitals (12 295 [34%] of 35 772 kilotonnes CO2e), private hospitals (3635 kilotonnes [10%]), other medications (3347 kilotonnes [9%]), benefit-paid drugs (3257 kilotonnes [9%]), and capital expenditure for buildings (2776 kilotonnes [8%]).

The full paper The carbon footprint of Australian health care (Arunima Malik, PhD, Prof Manfred Lenzen, PhD, Scott McAlister, MEngSci, Forbes McGain, PhD) was published as open access on the The Lancet Planetary Health website in January 2018.

Copyright © Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists.