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Climate change and us

Video of measuring your carbon footprint

In this presentation above, Dr Max Clayton-Smith and Dr Sangita Kindred explain how to measure carbon footprint. The video voice over is by Dr Manu-Priya Sharma.

Max Clayton-Smith is a consultant anaesthetist at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust. He has a strong interest in the environmental impact of healthcare and is a former Health Education North-West Fellow in Sustainable Anaesthesia and Information Specialist, in the ‘Greener Operations’ James Lind Alliance Priority Setting Partnership.

Sangita Kindred is a core Anaesthetics trainee in North Central London. She previously worked as an A&E registrar in Australia, where she saw the devastating effects of wild fires and climate impacts on coral reefs. Since then she has developed a passion for sustainability.

What is a carbon footprint?

  • The definition of carbon footprint has evolved over time. The most widely accepted definition today is the following: “The quantity of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere by an individual, organisation, process, product, or event” (Pandey et al 2011).
  • Carbon footprint is still the universal term used in regards to climate change, so we will be using it in this section to discuss our impact on the climate.

Calculating CO2e

We can calculate the CO2e from car emissions, households, commercial infrastructure, healthcare systems, countries and the world. This can provide a useful tool for making direct comparisons and facilitating communication on how we can cut emissions.

For example,

1kg of CO2 directly released into the atmosphere = 1 Kg (CO2e).
  • The CO2e of petrol burned whilst driving a car with CO2 exhaust emissions of 120g/km for a distance of 10km is 1.2kg.
  • The petrol burned whilst driving a car with CO2 exhaust emissions of 120g/km for a distance of 10km is equivalent to 1.2Kg (CO2e) (0.12kg x10km)
  • The CO2e of 1kg of nitrous oxide is 298 kg. This is the equivalent of driving from London to Kiev!
  • The CO2e of 2kg of methane is 50kg. This is the equivalent of driving from London to Cardiff, and back again. A cow is estimated to produce 70-120kg of methane gas per year.

A word of warning

Although CO2e is extremely important in measuring the effects of global warming via greenhouse gases, it does not contain information about other types of environmental damage such as contamination of waterways, or the effects of nuclear radiation.

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How to Drive Sustainable Healthcare: Educate, Engage, and Empower

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