Climate and Health

The Climate and Health program supports the health care sector in reducing its emissions impact, building climate-smart and resilient hospitals and communities, and mobilizing health care's ethical, economic, and political influence to advance the transition to a more sustainable, equitable future that supports healthy people living on a healthy planet.

The challenge

Our health and our ability to thrive—as individuals, families, communities, and as a country—is in danger because of the increasing instability of our climate. More than any other industry, health care is seeing the impacts of this crisis on public health and wellness.

The Lancet Commission characterized climate change as both the "biggest global health threat" and "the greatest global health opportunity" of the 21st century. The evidence is clear: Our worsening climate is bad for our health—it’s linked to respiratory and cardiovascular disease and poor mental health, and it causes injuries and death. This impacts all of us, but not in the same ways. Children, the elderly, people with chronic illnesses, low-income communities, communities of color, and other marginalized communities are being disproportionately impacted. And health care is on the front lines of the climate crisis, bearing the costs of treating these increased illnesses amid more frequent, severe extreme weather events.

A framework for action

Working together, we can create a climate-smart, innovative sector that protects public health from climate change and accelerates the transition to a low-carbon economy while improving community resilience, health equity, and access to care.

Health Care Without Harm has developed a three-pillar framework for health system action on climate:


The ultimate goal is for health systems to start by doing no harm, mitigating direct fossil fuel emissions so that the delivery of health care creates no negative health impacts, and to evolve to a healing role, building community health and resilience and creating conditions for all communities to thrive.