For physician-scientist Howard Hu, the irony is hard to take. The same medical community that makes its mission to improve health also substantially contributes to climate change, a global threat with numerous, widespread detriments to health. In the U.S. alone, the health care industry accounts for between 8 and 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“The contribution to emissions is huge,” said Hu, MD, MPH, ScD, holder of the Flora L. Thornton Chair in Preventive Medicine and chair and professor of population and public health sciences at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “That insight became a clarion call for us to do something about it.”