Eliminating emissions by 2050 could save 74 million lives

“One key takeaway is that there are a significant number of lives that can be saved by reducing emissions.”


The climate crisis has already proven to be deadly as this summer’s extreme heatwaves and devastating floods have wreaked havoc on our planet. And it is likely to continue if we do not eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

A new study, published in Nature Communications, calculates the mortality cost of carbon emissions and the numbers are terrifying. The study says adding 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere causes one excess death globally. 

“One key takeaway is that there are a significant number of lives that can be saved by reducing emissions,” says study author and Columbia University Ph.D. candidate R. Daniel Bressler. 

According to EcoWatch, using his calculations, Bressler estimated what would happen if we reduce emissions to zero by 2050 and what would happen if temperatures are allowed to rise to four degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. The difference between the two, he found, is around 74 million lives.

Bressler acknowledged that his projections of excess deaths from carbon emissions “may well be ‘a vast underestimate’ as they only account for heat-related mortality rather than deaths from flooding, storms, crop failures, and other impacts that flow from the climate crisis,” writes Common Dreams.

This study, as well as numerous others, have really made the connection between the climate crisis and humans. Humans are responsible for these dangerous emissions, human health will be affected, and humans can help but cutting emissions before it is too late. 


If you liked this article, please donate $5 to keep NationofChange online through November.