Deeble Issues Brief No. 48: Decarbonising clinical care in Australia

The healthcare sector is a major contributor to climate change, producing 7% of Australia’s national carbon emissions. To meet Australia’s commitments to carbon emissions reduction, and ensure better environmental outcomes, the healthcare sector will have a key role to play in mitigating its own impact. However, there is currently a lack of domestic initiatives which will make a substantial difference to the sector’s footprint, and little data is being collected to inform changes in practice.

The brief highlights the current gaps in understanding of the healthcare sector’s contribution to Australia’s carbon footprint. It focuses on the environmental impact of the delivery of care as the major source of emissions not reflected in emissions reductions policies. It identifies the need to reduce low value care, including current areas of interest for reform. It describes how better data collection and reporting on the footprint of healthcare can be harnessed to inform and incentivise sector-wide reform for a more environmentally sustainable and high-quality healthcare system.