Global warming could kill a billion people in 100 years: scientists on the future of Earth

Dmytro IvancheskulLife
Every thousand tons of carbon burned now will kill one person in the future. Source: OBOZREVATEL/Getty

Human-caused global warming will lead to the premature deaths of about 1 billion people in the next 100 years. Scientists warn that this is one of the most modest predictions about the upcoming catastrophe.

This is stated in a study published in Energies. The authors of the material made their conclusions taking into account the analysis of 180 articles on human mortality as a result of climate change.

The researchers noted that there is an empirical rule known as the "rule of 1000 tons". According to him, every thousand tons of carbon burned by humanity indirectly condemns one person to death in the future.

Technically, this rule does not take into account possible climate feedback that could make future environmental impacts from carbon emissions even worse. As scientists explain, the rule is more about a range than a specific number. They think it's about between 0.1 and 10 deaths per 1,000 tons of carbon burned.

"If you take the scientific consensus on the '1,000-ton rule' seriously and do the math, anthropogenic global warming equates to a billion premature deaths over the next century," explained energy expert Joshua Pearce at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

The researchers note that if the world reaches temperatures 2°C above the global pre-industrial average temperature in the coming decades, which is where things are headed, it will mean a large number of heat-related deaths. They suggest that we are talking about about 100 million deaths for every 0.1°C of warming.

"We have to act. And we have to act quickly," Pearce emphasized.

At the same time, the researchers recognize that the death rate due to climate change is very difficult to calculate. According to the United Nations, environmental factors kill about 13 million people each year, but how many of these deaths are related to climate change is unknown.

As Science Alert writes, experts suggest that abnormal temperatures are killing up to 5 million people a year, but the scientific community doesn't agree with this data.

The problem is that global warming provokes too many problems, each of which can lead to premature deaths. We're talking not just about heat waves but also crop failures, droughts, floods, extreme weather, wildfires and rising sea levels.

Despite the complexities of the calculations, Pierce believes the issue needs to be researched further because measuring emissions in terms of human lives gives the public a better understanding of how serious the problem is.

"Global warming is a matter of life or death for a billion people. As climate model projections become more and more clear, the harm we are doing to children and future generations can be attributed to our actions," Pearce explained.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL also spoke about the fact that deadly heat waves may become the norm on Earth.

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