Three Americans create enough carbon emissions to kill one person

The analysis draws upon several public health studies to conclude that for every 4,434 metric tons of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere beyond the 2020 rate of emissions, one person globally will die prematurely from the increased temperature. This additional CO2 is equivalent to the current lifetime emissions of 3.5 Americans. Adding a further 4m metric tons above last year’s level, produced by the average US coal plant, will cost 904 lives worldwide by the end of the century, the research found. Air pollution caused by the burning of fossil fuels is also directly killing people, with a landmark Harvard University study published in February finding that more than 8 million globally are dying each year from the health effects of toxic air. While it takes just 3.5 Americans to create enough emissions in a lifetime to kill one person, it would take 25 Brazilians or 146 Nigerians to do the same, the paper found.

The social, or financial, cost of carbon has become a widely-used metric after its creation by economist William Nordhaus, who subsequently won a Nobel prize, in the 1990s. The measurement calculates the damage caused by a ton of emissions, factored with the ability to adapt to the changing climate. Under Nordhaus’ DICE model the 2020 social cost of carbon is $37 a metric ton but Bressler’s addition of the mortality cost brings this figure up to $258 a ton.

— source theguardian.com | 29 Jul 2021

Nullius in verba


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