Mortality and other costs of climate change

Mortality from climate change

Two studies have estimated how many climate related deaths will happen as a result of CO2 emitted. Both estimates were around one climate death for each 4,000 tonnes CO2 emitted.

Loss of habitable land due to heat

Information comes from a study of unprecedented heat (mean annual temperature at least 29°C) [4]. Some key conclusions are that

Biodiversity loss

As global warming worsens, the effects get more severe.

For example, the SR15 report explains that

See appendix.


[1]The mortality cost of carbon (2021)
[2]Three Americans create enough carbon emissions to kill one person, study finds (2021)
[3]The Human Cost of Anthropogenic Global Warming: Semi-Quantitative Prediction and the 1,000-Tonne Rule (2019)
[4]Lenton et al (2023) Quantifying the human cost of global warming Nature Sustainability
[5]IPCC SR15 report: Chapter 3: Impacts of 1.5°C of Global Warming on Natural and Human Systems (2019)

Appendix: Loss of coral reefs

It works out that 1 tonne CO2 will destroy 0.4 sq m of coral reefs.

First published: 15 Apr 2023
Last updated: 12 Jan 2024