Climate change could cause more global deaths than all infectious diseases combined: study
A new analysis presents a sober warning.
The devastation of climate change is often measured as environmental tolls: rising waters, melting ice caps, record-breaking temperatures and air pollution. These common metrics gauge how severe humans’ effect on the environment is now — and can or will be in the future.
But data from a new report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research takes a different approach.
Researchers are now asking, as temperatures warm and our planet changes in unprecedented ways, who will live and who will die — and when?
For starters, researchers say, older generations are particularly at risk. But as we inch closer to a tipping point and if no action is taken, climate change could claim more lives than all infectious diseases combined around the world.
In the first globally comprehensive estimate on mortality and a warming climate, researchers looked at 40 countries’ data, covering about 55 percent of the world’s population, to create multivariate models relating mortality rates to temperature, climate and income. Their analysis found an age-specific relationship between mortality and global temperatures, where elderly people are projected to suffer disproportionately with rising temperatures.
“These results demonstrate that the elderly are disproportionately harmed by additional hot days and disproportionately benefit from reductions in cold days,” the report reads.
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