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  • Respiratory
  • Sustainability

Introduction to Global Heating and Ways to Benefit the Environment

Climate change is a global emergency. Greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere result in heat trapping, or otherwise referred to as global warming. Global warming is likely to have profound effects on environmental factors as well as human health.1

The UK has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement (which set the goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels).2 The NHS currently accounts of 4-5% of the total carbon emissions in England,3 and therefore there is a need to address its contribution to the UK greenhouse gas emission. In response, the NHS has set up a Long-Term Plan to become net zero by 2040, ahead of the Paris Agreement 2050 target.4

During the webinar, Dr Matt Sawyer provides background to the greenhouse gas effect, key contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and the impact of Fluorinated gases (F-gases) and pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) within these emissions. He goes onto map out ways primary care can tackle both the clinical and non-clinical greenhouse gas contributions from the sector, with the aim of achieving a net zero NHS by 2040.


1. World Health Organisation. Climate change and health. Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/climate-change-and-health. [Last accessed December 2021]. 
2. The Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2009. Available at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/1056/article/2/made [Last accessed December 2021]. 
3. NHS England. Greener NHS campaign to tackle climate ‘health emergency’. January 2020. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/01/greener-nhs-campaign-to-tackle-climate-health-emergency/ [Last accessed December 2021].
4. Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service. October 2020. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/greenernhs/a-net-zero-nhs/ [Last accessed December 2021].

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Dr Matt Sawyer

Dr Matthew Sayer has been a GP in the North East of England for over 15 years. He currently works as a front line GP two days a week. The rest of the week is spent running his sustainability consultancy working to improve planetary health and human health. He covers sustainability issues facing all businesses but specialises in primary care. He helps clinicians understand their carbon emissions footprint from running their practice and helps produce a practice wide ‘green plan’ or roadmap to work towards net zero emissions.

Dr Sawyer has a BSc in Environmental Science and MSc in Corporate Sustainability and Environmental Management. He delivers carbon literacy trainings, works on the RCGP Climate Emergency group and is a volunteer running the carbon footprint numbers behind the Climate App.