Within 50 years, the habitats of 1/3 of the world’s population will be just as warm as the hottest parts of the Sahara. This will have severe consequences for public health. However, this scenario need not become a reality when global greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced. In line with several international targets, the Dutch Climate Act aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 95% by 2050. Reductions in emissions are required in all sectors to achieve this goal. The Dutch health care sector contributes 6-7% to national greenhouse gas emissions. Measures to reduce these emissions serve two purposes: to contribute to the climate goals, and to contribute to people’s health locally and in the rest of the world. After all, climate change entails, for example, more heat stress, the spread of diseases such as malaria and parallel effects such as air pollution (smog). Most people want to contribute to solutions to these problems. But where do you start? How can we make well-informed choices about this issue? This article introduces three process steps and four types of measures that can help to reduce the health care’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Michiel Zijp, Guus Velders, Susanne Waaijers-van der Loop  - National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands, february 2021