With early optimism surrounding the 2015 Paris agreement on climate change now fading into anxiety over potential changes to U.S. environmental policy under a Trump administration, many are looking for new leaders in the fight against global warming. Hospitals should step into the breach. Doing so could both slow climate change and improve healthcare systems globally.
Leadership on major world problems is not new to the health sector, which is already confronting intractable global challenges such as HIV/AIDS, Ebola and Zika.
The 2015 report of the Lancet Climate Change Commission called climate change the “biggest global health opportunity of the 21st century,” because of the potential to improve both the health of the planet and individuals by taking steps such as reducing air pollution. The authors optimistically noted that if the public health community can fight Big Tobacco or infectious outbreaks, it can tackle climate change, too.