The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) has announced that the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge will accept new signatories on an ongoing basis. The announcement comes after multiple health sector stakeholders requested to join the initiative following its October 2022 deadline.
Originally launched last spring, the White House-HHS Health Sector Climate Pledge is a voluntary commitment to reduce emissions and improve climate resilience. Signing organizations agree to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The health care sector accounts for 8.5% of U.S. emissions, so these bold commitments advance President Biden’s goal to reduce nationwide greenhouse gas emissions 50-52% in 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Organizations that sign the Pledge will be recognized through two announcements this year: in an Earth Day announcement if they sign by April 12 and in an announcement around the time of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) if they sign by November 1.
In 2022, 102 organizations representing 837 hospitals signed the Pledge. In addition to hospitals, these stakeholders include health centers, suppliers, insurance companies, group purchasing organizations, pharmaceutical companies, and more. Federal systems like the Indian Health Service, Veterans Health Administration within the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Military Health System within the Department of Defense are working together to meet similar goals to those these private sector organizations have embraced, in fulfillment of President Biden’s broader decarbonization vision. Combined, this means that over 1,080 federal and private sector hospitals have made such commitments, together representing over 15% of U.S. hospitals.