Project Significance

The Lancet Countdown Report 2019 shows that the global health sector caused emissions of approximately 2.250 Mio tons of CO2-equivalents in 2016, which makes up 4.6 percent of the total global carbon emissions. In Germany one encounters a similar situation. In the same year, the German health system produced about 70 Mio tons of CO2-equivalents, which corresponds to 5.2 percent of the total national emissions.

Clinics are the most resource-intensive consumers in the German service sector. Considering their constant need for heat- and cold supply as well as electricity and water, this is hardly surprising. After all, they are obliged and expected to guarantee high-level patient care, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Meeting those expectations as well as occupational safety regulations and hygiene requirements often create a vicious circle that causes great damage to the climate.

Nevertheless, great potential to foster climate protection is slumbering in clinics as well. If clinics actively look for ways to reduce their usage of materials, energy and resources, they may strengthen climate protection substantially. On top of that, they can also relieve their own budget, which would allow for the re-allocation of financial resources in key areas such as staff increases. 

Anchoring climate protection in clinics has proven to be successful in the previous project “KLIK – Climate Mangers for Clinics”: From 2014 to 2016, a collective of 50 German hospitals and rehabilitation-clinics avoided more than 34,000 tons of CO2-equivalents. Through the activities of the climate managers, the participating “KLIK clinics” saved 9 Mio euros of operating costs. The results of the previous project are summarized in the final report.

Due to an enormous increase in participating health institutions, KLIK green is supposed to have a much greater positive effect on both, the climate consequences and financial bottlenecks.

KLIK green stresses that climate protection does not just contribute to health improvements, but can also be seen as an integral part of health protection. Any activity beneficial to the health of people, such as

  • walking or going by bike rather than driving by car,
  • eating healthily grown fruits and vegetables,
  • avoiding meat,
  • living in clean and sustainable cities.

also supports the fight against climate change. After all, most climate-damaging emissions stem from traffic, intensive livestock farming and unnatural urban life with its overbuilding, material accumulation and air pollution. KLIK green points out that in the equation climate protection = health protection the originators of the problem are also the sufferers. But rather than lapse into apathy, the clinic staff can set a positive example and turn a predicament into a productive, self-determined activity. Thus, the climate managers are also planet- and health protectors. KLIK green offers a practical solution for climate change in institutions that, thanks to their role as multipliers, can reach out to the whole society. Fortunately for the project, clinics are increasingly developing an awareness of the significance of climate change and health. Since June 2019, the renowned university hospital Charité in Berlin dedicates a professorship to the subject and appointed Prof. Dr. Dr. Sabine Gabrysch as Germany´s first professor for climate change and health.