A new report released by Health Care Without Harm on behalf of Boston’s Green Ribbon Commission (GRC) Health Care Working Group spotlights Boston hospitals’ achievements to reduce GHG emissions.
“Healthcare organizations have an obligation to improve the health and well-being of patients and the communities we serve,” said Anne Klibanski, MD, President and CEO of Mass General Brigham and the GRC’s Health Care Working Group co-chair. “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will create healthier environments for people and help prevent public health crises before they happen. We are proud to partner with the Green Ribbon Commission on this important work.”
According to the report, local health facilities have cut emissions by 18% from 2011 through 2019, despite serving more patients and expanding health care facility space by 10%.
While the report shows that a sector-wide shift to 100% renewable electricity by 2030, combined with ambitious energy efficiency and electrification efforts will allow the sector to achieve a 50% reduction by 2030, there are significant challenges to achieving full decarbonization in the sector by 2050. Many Boston hospitals rely on central steam plants and combined heat and power systems. While highly efficient, these systems are powered by the combustion of fossil fuels, primarily natural gas, and there is not yet a clear pathway or timeline to replace or transition to a zero-carbon fuel.
“It’s encouraging to see data showing Boston hospitals are making real strides in reducing carbon emissions,” said John Cleveland, the Boston Green Ribbon Commission’s executive director. “At the same time, it’s clear that hospitals are willing to explore new strategies and technologies to further cut emissions. As we move toward a carbon free future, these measurement milestones will help keep the focus on what’s needed from the city, state, federal government, and the private sectors, such as support in decarbonizing our district energy systems.”