If humanity maintains the current rate of fuel burning and the average temperature of the planet does not decrease in the year 2100, there will be died prematurely more than a billion peopleas they have estimated Joshua Pearce y Richard Parncuttresearchers from the University of Western (Canada) and the University of Graz (Austria), who have published their findings in the journal Energies.
These experts have reviewed 180 articles of scientific literature that denounced the consequences of climate change caused by the Anthropocene eraa term used to designate the current geological era that is characterized by the key role that humanity plays in the development of significant geological changes caused by factors such as urbanization, the use of fossil fuels, the destruction of forests, demand of water or the exploitation of marine resources.
These scientists noted that previous studies on the human mortality costs of carbon emissions agreed on the ‘thousand ton rule’ which, while an estimate, indicates that every time a thousand tons of fossil carbon is burned, one person dies prematurely.
“As predictions from climate models become clearer, the harm we are causing to children and future generations can increasingly be attributed to our actions.”
Later they compared it with the carbon budget that the planet has before increasing its average temperature by 2 °C. “If he warming reaches or exceeds 2°C this centuryhumans, mainly the wealthiest, will be responsible for killing approximately one billion human beings, mostly the poorest, through anthropogenic global warming, which is comparable to involuntary or negligent homicide,” the authors of the document explained. .
Body count and the era of ‘global boiling’
The authors decided to use terminology understandable to everyone and not just to experts in the field, and thought that translating the consequences of climate change into the number of dead bodies it would cause would be easy to understand. “Energy numbers, like megawatts, mean something to power engineers like me, but not to most people. Similarly, when climate scientists talk about parts per million of carbon dioxide, that means nothing to most people. A few degrees of increase in average temperature is also not intuitive. However the body count is something we all understand”says Pearce.
2023 has been characterized by intense heat waves, melting of the polar ice caps and droughts. Each month tends to be the hottest on record since temperatures began to be measured. At the end of July, the Secretary General of the United Nations Organization stated that the era of global warming had passed and the era of global boiling had begun.
“As predictions from climate models become clearer, the harm we are causing to children and future generations can increasingly be attributed to our actions,” adds Pearce.
What to do to mitigate the impact of climate change
This study on the cost in human lives linked to climate change includes four energy policy recommendations that would help mitigate the phenomenon:
- Improvement of energy conservation and efficiency and the rational use of energy, supported by government programs for industrial, agricultural, transportation, residential and domestic users.
- Full replacement of high carbon fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) with zero carbon fuels (i.e. hydrogen, electricity…) coming from renewable energy sources such as hydroelectric, wind, geothermal, biomass and solar , scaled and distributed to create resilient power grids.
- Development of technologies for carbon waste management and natural CO2 capture and storage, including carbon sequestration and regenerative agriculture.
- Replacement of carbon subsidies by carbon taxes.