Intended for healthcare professionals


Towards a carbon neutral NHS

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 08 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3884

Linked Analysis

A pathway to net zero emissions for healthcare

  1. Neil Jennings, partnership development manager1,
  2. Mala Rao, professor2
  1. 1Grantham Institute—Climate Change and the Environment, Imperial College London, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: N Jennings neil.jennings{at}

New report commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2040

History will remember 2020 as the year when the covid-19 pandemic plunged the world into turmoil, leaving climate change—which had begun to capture greater global attention and concern—consigned to the backroom of global news. Yet, this emergency12 is by far the biggest public health threat we face,3 and since the start of the pandemic we have already moved a year closer to the 2030 deadline to halve global emissions of carbon dioxide, and the 2050 deadline to reach net zero emissions.4

The recent publication of the UK report Delivering a “Net Zero” National Health Service is therefore welcome.5 It sets out the NHS’s ambition to become the world’s first carbon neutral national health system by 2040. The report describes the urgent need for such a strategy; how the carbon footprint, targets, and trajectories have been estimated; the interventions planned and the emissions reduction they are likely to achieve; how the recommendations fit within the framework of …

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