Anaesthetic gases

Carbon Footprint from Anaesthetic gas use - report

A number of anaesthetic gases have been identified as potent greenhouse gases (GHG). Emissions of gases from NHS organisations are direct emissions and should be reported in scope 1.  The scale of these emissions for the health system in England is estimated for the first time. Nitrous Oxide (N2O) and a number of anaesthetic gases are compared here using the carbon dioxide equivalent emissions as used in the GHG Inventory .

  • 5% of the carbon footprint for acute organisations is from anaesthetic gases 
  • For acute organisations, this is equivalent to around half the emissions from gas used to heat buildings and water
  • Desflurane and nitrous oxide causes the most global warming and sevoflurane the least
  • Measuring, monitoring and reporting carbon dioxide equivalent emissions is crucial for reducing emissions.


The report can be downloaded below

Anaesthetic gases - carbon calculator

Following the publication of the report above a number of organisations asked how they might calculate their emissions.

The Royal College of Anaesthetists created this helpful calculator to measure the carbon footprint from anaesthetic gases. Enter the number of each cylinder and the tool will calculate the anaesthetic gas carbon footprint.  Download below