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10/25/2018

Jessica Wolff Discusses Efforts to Reduce The Health Care Industry's Carbon Footprint (October 24th)

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Earlier this month the United Nation's Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), the world's definitive body on the subject, concluded we have just 12 years, or until 2030, to avoid global temperatures rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7F).  We've already warmed by 1C.   Among other consequences, if we warm to 2.0C (or 3.6F) we will lose 99 percent of our coral reefs.  We are presently on track to warm to 4C by the end of this century - that the Trump administration, via a National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) environmental impact stated, admitted in August.  This means we will have to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.  (The US is historically the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses and currently second behind China.  Worldwide, we currently dump 42 billion tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere annually and the amount has been again climbing since last year.)  As I noted in a November 13, 2017 3 Quarks Daily essay (a link to which was posted on this podcast that month), there is no climate analog for this century for at least the past 50 million years.  Should the atmosphere warm by 2C (the Paris Climate Accord goal was between 1.5 to 2), the earth as we know it will largely cease to exist.   Therefore, it is a particularly good time to examine what the health care industry, the second largest emitter of greenhouse pollution after the food industry, is doing to reduce its carbon footprint. 

During this 28 minute podcast Ms. Jessica Wolff discusses, in sum, efforts  by Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) to achieve reductions in the health care industry's carbon footprint.  She explains why HCWH was formed, provides an overview of its current mission is to reduce the industry's carbon footprint, discusses how specifically the industry is addressing the problem (via mitigation, resilience and leadership), highlights related initiatives, e.g., the recently formed California Health Care Climate Alliance, identifies leaders in the industry and what they are doing, e.g., Kaiser, and discusses opportunities the industry is and can take to influence and/or reform state and federal climate change policy.

Ms. Jessica Wolff is the US Director of Climate and Health for Health Care Without Harm (HCWH).   Prior to her current Wolffposition she was the Environmental Sustainability Adviser at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health.  Prior still she worked as a women's health nurse practitioner and as a health center director.  She holds an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a degree in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College and a Master's in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.

For information on HCWH go to: https://noharm.org/.

The IPCC report is at: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/.

On August 3 , 2017, I interviewed David Wallace Wells regarding his global warming article published in July 2017 in  New York Magazine.  It was titled, "The Uninhabitable Earth."  It is at: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html?gtm=bottom&gtm=top

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