Scientists in an industrial lab

Carbon Emissions and Pharmaceuticals

Headshot of Cristina Richie





Participate in this insightful presentation by Cristina Richie (TU Delft) as she delves into her latest findings on the relationship between carbon emissions and pharmaceuticals. This presentation is part of our 2023 seminar series

Here is a summary of this upcoming talk


Carbon Emissions and Pharmaceuticals 



 The United States health care industry emits an estimated 479 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year; nearly 8% of the country’s total emissions. When assessed by sector, hospital care, clinical services, medical structures, and pharmaceuticals are the top emitters. However, within health care delivery pharmaceuticals are the highest emitters, with one study placing the carbon footprint of US pharmaceuticals at 76 million tons per year. Globally, pharmaceutical industry carbon emissions are more than 50% higher than the automotive sector. 

This talk will first overview contributing factors to the carbon emissions of health care in general. It will second focus on the carbon emissions of pharmaceuticals, distinguishing between upstream pharmaceutical carbon, which comes from research, development, and production and downstream pharmaceutical carbon, which comes from prescribing practices. It will third describe the normative significance of pharmaceutical production and prescribing for medical ethics and environmental ethics. The discussion will identify policy and practice based strategies for pharmaceutical carbon reduction.  



Cristina Richie, PhD is a Lecturer in the Philosophy and Ethics of Technology department at the Delft University of Technology and was the School of Social and Political Science Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh in 2020. In 2021, she was endorsed by the British Academy for a UK Global Talent Visa. Richie was previously an Assistant Professor in the Bioethics and Interdisciplinary Studies Department at the Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University (Greenville, NC). In 2019, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. 

Her research is dedicated to just, sustainable health care. In addition to her monographs, Principles of Green Bioethics: Sustainability in Health Care (Michigan State University Press, 2019) and Environmental Ethics and Medical Reproduction (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), Dr. Richie is the author of over fifty articles in journals including the American Journal of Bioethics, the Journal of Medical Ethics, the Hastings Center Report, and Developing World Bioethics 

Richie is the Head of the Netherlands Unit (Rotterdam) of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics, and holds a nominated fellowship at the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity International University (Deerfield, Il). 

This event will take place on March 8 at 12.00 pm. See you there!


This event will take place in person at the University of Edinburgh, in CMB, room 3,15

Cover photos credit: Headshot provided by Cristina


Mar 08 2023


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Chrystal Macmillan Building, Room 3.15

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