The cost of climate change may well be 83 million people by 2100, the same number as the population of Germany. A new study has revealed that due to rising global temperatures caused by runaway greenhouse emissions, over 83 million people may die by 2100.
The study by Columbia University’s Earth Institute is the first of its kind to calculate the mortality impact of climate change and will possibly push governments to increase the cost of emissions.
“Based on the decisions made by individuals, businesses or governments, this tells you how many lives will be lost or saved," said Daniel Bressler, the study's lead author.
Bressler used existing underlying models to develop his own calculations on the possible "mortality cost of carbon". However, Bressler's research hasn't included deaths that have been caused by secondary effects of global warming like rising seas, superstorms, crop failures, or changing disease patterns. This means that the 83 million mortality figure may be a vast underestimate of the true cost of global warming in the 21st century.
According to Bressler's research, every 4,434 tonnes of carbon released last year will kill one person within this century. Alarmingly, his research also predicts global temperatures rising by 4.1°C by the turn of the century.
The emissions of 3.5 American citizens over their lifetime would lead to the death of one person. At the same time, it would take the lifetime emissions of 33 Indians at the current rate to lead to the death of one person, the study claimed.
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Urgent measures to contain and reduce greenhouse emissions are needed as other recent studies show that the tipping point of a global climate disaster may already be upon us.
Bressler's study may well be the impetus needed by governments to start taxing carbon emissions more harshly, a step that many activists say is essential for reducing emissions from large corporations.
While the IMF had calculated a price of $75 per tonne of carbon as a carbon price, the study reveals that the actual price should be much higher. Several countries have already implemented a carbon price or are in the process of doing so. However, no such plans exist in India yet.
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)
First Published: IST