Unfortunately, the lifestyles of around three average American citizens make enough carbon emissions that can kill one person.
What’s more, the emissions from one coal-fired power plant will likely result in more than 900 deaths, found the first analysis that calculated the mortal cost of CO2 emissions.
This new research is built upon the “social cost of carbon”, a monetary figure that’s put upon the damage that each ton of CO2 emissions causes by assigning the expected death toll from these climate crisis-contributing emissions.
How Was the Analysis Conducted?
The analysis relied on several public health studies and concluded that for every 4,434 metric tons of CO2 that goes into the atmosphere beyond the 2020 emission rate, one person globally will die due to higher temperatures.
This CO2 is equal to the current lifetime emissions released by 3.5 Americans.
When you add the additional 4m metric tons above the level of last year that’s produced by an average coal plant in the US, it will cost us 904 lives globally by the end of the century, claims the research.
Removal of planet-heating emissions by 2050 is expected to save 74 million lives globally in this century.
The Figures May Be Even Bigger
These figures for expected deaths aren’t definitive and may actually be an underestimate since they only account for the mortality related to heat and not deaths from crop failures, floods, and other negative effects of climate change according to Daniel Bressler from the Earth Institute at Columbia University.
The pollution of air triggered by burning fossil fuels is also directly taking people’s lives and this was shown by a Harvard University study published recently. It discovered that more than eight million individuals globally die yearly from the impact of toxic air.
According to Bressler, lives can be saved if we pursue aggressive climate policies.
The research that was published in the journal Nature Communications shows the large disparities in the emissions that are created by the consumption of people in different countries throughout the world.
Even though 3.5 Americans are enough to make enough emissions during their lifetime that would kill a person, it takes 25 Brazilians and 146 Nigerians to do the same, found the paper.