Daniel Bressler from Columbia University has revealed the number of premature deaths associated with anthropogenic carbon emissions into the atmosphere. It turned out that growing greenhouse gas emissions over the entire current century can lead to the death of tens of millions of people around the world. This is reported in a press release on Phys.org.
Although recent studies show that climate change can cause millions of premature deaths, current estimates of the social cost of carbon are based on outdated studies that do not include these forecasts. The social cost of carbon is the cost, estimated in dollars, that economists attribute to each ton of carbon emitted, based on the estimated future damage that these emissions may cause.
Bressler assessed the impact of climate change on mortality based on several key public health studies that assessed the association of premature deaths with high air temperatures. At the same time, it did not consider the consequences of storms, floods, hurricanes, crop failures, infectious diseases, and military conflicts. Assuming that emissions will continue to grow, Bressler concluded that every ton of carbon emitted above the current level would cause 2.26 by 10 to the minus 4th degree of additional deaths in the current century. That is, for every 4434 tons of carbon dioxide that are added above the 2020 level of emissions, there is one death. This is equivalent to the carbon emissions of 3.5 US residents.
Adding one million tons to the 2020 baseline emissions will result in 226 deaths. This one million ton corresponds to the annual emissions of 216 thousand passenger cars, 115 thousand homes, 35 commercial airliners, or 0.24 coal-fired power plants.
By 2050, average temperatures will be 2.1 degrees Celsius higher compared to pre-industrial levels. By 2100, the temperature increase will reach 4.1 degrees Celsius. Bressler predicts that under this scenario, climate change will lead to 83 million additional deaths by 2100. Most of the deaths will occur in the regions that are already the hottest and poorest: Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Adding premature mortality to the social cost of carbon gives $ 258 per ton.