Energy, emissions and emergency medical services: policy matters

Brown, Lawrence H., and Blanchard, Ian E. (2012) Energy, emissions and emergency medical services: policy matters. Energy Policy, 46. pp. 585-593.

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Abstract

Understanding the energy consumption and emissions associated with health services is important for minimizing their environmental impact and guiding their adaptation to a low-carbon economy. In this post-hoc analysis, we characterize the energy burden of North American emergency medical services (EMS) agencies and estimate the potential marginal damage costs arising from their emissions as an example of how and why health services matter in environmental and energy policy, and how and why environmental and energy policy matter to health services. We demonstrate EMS systems are energy intensive, and that vehicle fuels represent 80% of their energy burden while electricity and natural gas represent 20%. We also demonstrate that emissions from EMS operations represent only a small fraction of estimated health sector emissions, but for EMS systems in the United States the associated marginal damage costs are likely between $2.7 million and $9.7 million annually. Significant changes in the supply or price of energy, including changes that arise from environmental and energy policy initiatives designed to constrain fossil fuel consumption, could potentially affect EMS agencies and other health services. We encourage cross disciplinary research to proactively facilitate the health system's adaptation to a low-carbon economy.

Item ID: 23026
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-6777
Keywords: health services; greenhouse gas emissions; adaptation
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2012 05:57
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050299 Environmental Science and Management not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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