This blog is #14 in a series of blogs in the form of questions or statements about a health issue and answers. These are in the typical format used when doctors take tests.

Question #14

Which of the following categories contributes the largest part to health care’s carbon emissions or carbon footprint? 

  1. Building energy use
  2. Pharmaceutical prescriptions
  3. Transportation of patients, staff, and people
  4. Food procurement and consumption

That’s correct! #1.

In the United States, health care buildings are the second most energy-intensive commercial sector buildings and hospitals use about twice as much total energy per square foot as traditional office space. National health care estimates for both the United States and England have identified the top three areas of carbon emissions as building energy use, pharmaceutical prescriptions, and transportation.

Healthy Hospitals, Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Addressing climate change in health care settings. A discussion draft paper published by the World Health Organization and Health Care Without Harm. 2008. Accessed may 27, 2015.

Chung JW, Meltzer DO. estimate of the carbon footprint of the US health care sector. JAMA 302:1970-1972, 2009.

SDC (2008) NHS England carbon emissions: carbon footprinting study. September 2008, Sustainable Development Commission, London.

   “Got a revolution. Got to revolution.”

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