According to a new study, the combined lifestyle of just three typical Americans is enough to kill another human.
Assuming emissions continue to increase on their current high path, the study found that there were 2.26×10-4 or 0.000226 premature deaths per metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted above and beyond 2020 rates.
Essentially, for every 4,434 metric tons of CO2 produced above current rates, one person is killed.
The average American produces about 20 metric tons per year, so to hit that 4,434 threshold would take about 225 years — or three additional 75-year lifespans.
“Based on the decisions of individuals, companies or governments, this tells you how many lives will be lost or saved,” said R. Daniel Bressler, a researcher in sustainable development at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. in a statement.
A new study from Columbia University suggests that the lifelong lifestyles of three typical Americans create enough carbon emissions to kill someone.
Using the phrase “the mortality cost of carbon,” Bressler quantified “the mortality impact of those decisions,” he said. “It takes this question to a more personal, more understandable level.”
The study was published last month in the journal nature communication.
That’s quite lethal compared to the global average of killing just 0.08 people per capita.
In the UK, it would take the current emissions of nearly 10 people (9.4 to be exact) to produce the same amount of ‘excess mortality’, according to the statement, compared to 25.8 Brazilians and 146.2 Nigerians.
However, Americans are not alone with their deadly carbon footprint: According to Bressler’s analysis (above): Saudi Arabs could kill 0.33 people per capita. However, it would take the lifetime CO2 emissions of 146.2 Nigerians to put someone in
However, Americans are not alone with their deadly carbon footprint: According to Bressler’s analysis, Saudi Arabs could kill 0.33 people per capita, while Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Australia reach similar numbers.
Researchers have dismissed the long-term effects of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases, both in economic and health terms.
But those estimates are mostly at the macro level — how many millions of lives or acres of trees will be lost.
Economist William Nordhaus won a Nobel Prize in 2018 for researching the ‘social costs of carbon’, which looks at the financial burden of reducing emissions compared to the costs of climate change impacts.
Bressler praises Nordhaus’s research, but says it lacks the impact on death rates, which have seen an “explosion of research” lately, he said. the guard.
Taking those death rates into account, Bressler increased the cost of carbon by more than 600 percent, from $37 per metric ton to $258.
Bressler admits his numbers are based only on direct temperature-related deaths, such as from heatstroke, ignoring deaths from starvation, drowning, wars, or infectious diseases. “The number could be lower, but it could also be a lot higher,” he told The Guardian.
Adding 1 million tons to the 2020 base emissions — equivalent to annual production of an additional 216,000 passenger vehicles, 115,000 homes or 35 commercial aircraft — would kill 226 people.
Bressler based his formula on the assumption that, based on rising emissions trends, by the year 2050, average temperatures will be more than 3.8 Fahrenheit above what they were before the Industrial Revolution, “the largely agreed-upon limit after which the worst effects of climate change.” will kick in.’
The study predicts that by 2100, temperatures would be 7.4 F higher, resulting in about 83 million additional deaths.
Bressler admits his numbers aren’t exact, and there’s always a chance world governments could make a big turnaround in the next few years.
The study predicts that by 2100, temperatures will be 7.4 F higher than the pre-industrial rate, resulting in about 83 million additional deaths
But he only considered direct temperature-related deaths, such as from heat stroke, and ignored deaths from starvation, drowning, wars, infectious diseases and a host of other indirect effects of rising temperatures.
“I was amazed at the number of deaths,” Bressler told The Guardian. There is some uncertainty about this: the number could be lower, but it could also be a lot higher.’
In April 2021, the International Energy Agency predicted that carbon dioxide emissions would increase at the second-highest increase in history, as production and shipping resume in the wake of the pandemic.