One BILLION people will die from climate change by 2100, study claims
Scientists have given a terrifying prediction about the future of humanity on this planet. According to experts in , one Most of those who die will be poorer humans living in the developing world, they say, while the ones contributing to mass fatalities will likely be the top execs at multi-billion dollar oil and gas companies. Deaths will be triggered by various catastrophes including flooding due to melted ice, wildfires, disease, severe weather events such as drought, and much more. The study authors are calling on governments and policymakers to urgently prohibit the use of fossil fuels such as coal and gas because they release huge quantities of planet-warming gases into the air. The researchers say deaths of 1 billion is 'comparable with involuntary or negligent manslaughter'. Leader of the study, Dr Joshua M. Pearce at University of Western Ontario, Canada, said such mass death is 'clearly unacceptable'. 'It's pretty scary really, especially for our children,' he said. 'Global warming is a matter of life or death for a billion people. 'Almost everyone agrees that every human life is valuable, independent of age, cultural or racial background, gender or financial resources. 'Therefore, the energy transition will have to change much, much faster, starting now.' Greenhouse gases including CO2 and methane are released when fossil fuels like oil, coal and natural gas are burned to powers cars, planes, homes and factories. When the these gases enter the atmosphere, they trap heat and contribute to the warming of the climate. This is already , and this meltwater is entering the oceans, gradually causing a rise in sea levels and severe flooding. Scientists think the people most at risk of death due to rising sea levels are those living in coastal regions, which . But global warming will kill in other ways, according to Dr Pearce, such as the effects of heatwaves. We've already seen hotter average temperatures globally, including the and the hottest . 'Climate change causes human deaths can be divided into direct, intermediate, indirect, and their interactions,' Dr Pearce told MailOnline. 'Direct mortal effects of climate change include heat waves, which have already caused thousands of human deaths by a combination of heat and humidity, such that the human body is physically unable to cool itself with perspiration. 'Intermediate causes of death involve crop failures, droughts, flooding, extreme weather, wildfires, and rising seas. 'Crop failures in particular can make global hunger and starvation worse.' Pearce teamed up with Richard Parncutt from the University of Graz in Austria for the new study, published in the journal . To reach their prediction, the duo conducted a 'major review' of more than 180 previously published articles from scientific literature. They compared the different approaches to estimating future human death tolls from climate change, at any scale or location. According to the results, a measure known as the '1,000-ton rule' is a pretty accurate way to predict human mortality due to climate. The 1,000-ton rule states that one future premature death is caused every time approximately 1,000 tons of fossil carbon are burned. However, the rule is 'order of magnitude best estimate' and the reality could be more or less one person per 1,000 tons, according to Dr Pearce. 'The number of caused deaths will likely lie between a tenth of a person and 10 people per 1,000 tons,' he said. The academic thinks 'mainly richer humans' will be responsible for the death of one billion mainly poorer humans over the next century, although he was unable to say what proportion of the one billion will be poor. 'Most people that will die from climate change are poor people living in the developing world,' he told MailOnline. 'Those earning the average income in a developed country will be able to buy their survival e.g., by moving, out bidding the poor for food, being able to pay for air conditioning.' The new study proposes immediate action to bring about dramatic decreases to carbon emissions so that the dire projections do not come to fruition. These include a complete replacement of fossil fuels that belch out carbon at a high rate namely coal, oil and natural gas with renewable energy sources like hydropower, wind, geothermal and solar. He also wants to see the development of , along the lines of what the UK government is currently considering. Dr Pearce believes that phasing out fossil fuels in favour of renewables is plausible even for countries such as India that rely on them so heavily. 'Even if we just look at it economically, India, for example is able to produce solar electricity less expensively than any other source in history,' he told MailOnline. 'Transitioning to renewable energy should be viewed as an investment. 'By investing money now in solar and other renewable energy India as well as really all countries they will see an economic return over time, plus that means reduced pollution and all of the many issues with climate change.'