Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Climate Change

Giving it 10%

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 06 October 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c5448

This article has a correction. Please see:

  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist
  1. 1London, UK
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}

Low carbon dinners, hand driers, and ditching old fridges are just some of the tactics health bodies are using to cut their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010, finds Nigel Hawkes

On 10 October a group of sumo wrestlers in Tokyo plan to cycle to their training, an exploit as demanding for the bicycles as for the wrestlers. In the Maldives, the president will install solar panels on the roof of a house, and in Auckland, New Zealand, mechanics will attempt to make thousands of neglected bikes roadworthy again.

The tenth day of the tenth month of 2010 will be the cue for a worldwide series of events, some of which will involve health care. A growing number of organisations in the NHS and the private health sector in the UK are signing up to the 10:10 commitment to reduce their carbon emissions by 10% in 2010 ( By the beginning of October, 10:10 had signed up 27 acute trusts in England, 11 mental health trusts, 35 primary care trusts, 29 general practices, one strategic health authority (NHS South West), and a couple of dozen other organisations.

From saving electricity in general practices to designing an entire “low carbon” menu for patients and staff at University College Hospital in London, the 10:10 movement is mobilising enthusiasm among many who are disillusioned by the international failure to do more to halt climate change. It is seeking to achieve, through bottom-up initiatives, what diplomacy has so far failed to achieve by top down regulation.

10:10 was founded by the documentary film maker Franny Armstrong, best known for her film about climate change, The Age of Stupid. Launched a year ago, 10:10 has grown fast. It seems to have hit exactly the right note for many people anxious about climate change but uncertain …

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