Life-threatening extreme heat arrived early in India, Pakistan, and other parts of south Asia this year, exposing more than 1 billion people to increased health risks. If global average temperatures rise 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7° Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, extreme heat and humidity are expected to impact areas currently home to populations of this size annually, with heat stress affecting more than 12 times the number of people compared to a world without climate change.
The Climate Impact Lab has developed a new interactive tool called the Lives Saved Calculator, which quantifies how many lives could be saved around the world from reduced emissions within the United States, whether at the town, city, state, or national levels. The tool is built off the Lab’s empirically-based model of the impact of climate change-driven increases in temperature on human death rates. The tool uses this model and Rhodium Group emissions estimates to measure the life-saving effects of reducing emissions in the United States. Reducing emissions has a measurable impact on global temperatures, reducing heat’s deadly effect on human health. The tool also measures how much money the global economy would save through avoided adaptation costs from increased mortality risk.
Using this new tool, the benefits of each single ton of carbon emissions avoided become evident. For instance, 13 U.S. states and Washington, DC have set goals of net-zero emissions by 2050 or earlier. Achieving those targets would save 1.9 million lives globally through 2100 and avoid $926 billion in adaptation costs. Achieving net-zero emissions nationwide by 2050 would save 7.4 million lives globally and avoid $3.7 trillion in adaptation costs.