3 Americans are capable of emitting more than 4,000 tons of CO2, says study

A preliminary study shows that the lifestyles of just 3 Americans are capable of creating enough CO2 emissions to cause one person’s death from excessive heat. The article was published this Thursday (29.Jul.2021) by the scientific journal Nature Communications. This is the full text in English (1 MB). The research uses as a basis the so-called social cost of carbon, a value that monetizes the damage caused ​​for each ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted on social well-being and ecosystems, and assigns an estimated number of deaths caused by the climate crisis.According to the researchers, the rates recorded in 2020 added to each emission of 4,434 tons of CO2 will cause the premature death of a person in the world because of rising temperatures. that this additional amount of pollutant is currently equivalent to the emissions made by the consumption of 3.5 Americans. In the case of other countries, the value corresponds to 25 Brazilians or 146 Nigerians. The emission of just an average coal plant in the United States, on the other hand, produces over 4 million tons of CO2. This amount, added to the already recorded rates and to the researchers’ first estimate, will cost 904 lives around the world, by the end of the century. definitive and can be “a big underestimation”, since they represent only the losses related to excess heat. According to him, the values ​​do not take into account floods, storms, crop failures and other impacts resulting from global warming. on the planet would save about 74 million lives worldwide in the 21st century. “There are a significant number of lives that can be saved if you follow more aggressive climate policies than those in the current business landscape,” said Bressler .

social cost of carbon

This type of monetization of the damage caused by the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere was created by economist William Nodhaus. Since then, it has been widely used by various companies and entities in the economic sector, such as ECLAC (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean). In the Nodhaus model, the social cost of carbon in 2020 for 1 ton is US $37 (about R$188). However, with the addition of the deaths estimated by the study, each ton would cost US$ 250, that is, approximately R$ 1270. Thus, in the emission of 4,434 tons of CO2, the social cost would be equivalent to more than R$ 5.63 million. Researchers claim that this change implies that the adoption of a more radical decarbonization policy is necessary. According to Bressler, the focus should be on policies that impact companies and governments, institutions that “influence carbon pollution on a social scale.” “My opinion is that people shouldn’t take their emissions personally. Our emissions are largely caused by the technology and culture of the place where we live”, he said. continue reading