New Study Shows That Climate Change Is Reducing Life Expectancy Globally

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A recent study suggests that climate change may potentially shorten human lifespans by up to six months. Researchers, who examined 80 years of data, identified a link between fluctuations in rainfall and temperature and a decline in average life expectancy.

Life expectancy impacted by climate change

According to the study women and people in developing nations bear a disproportionate burden of climate change. It seeks to establish a direct correlation between life expectancy and climate change effects, a connection previously elusive despite extensive documentation of its direct and indirect impacts, such as natural disasters and respiratory illnesses.

The collaborative research effort between Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) in Bangladesh and the New School for Social Research in the United States analyzed data from 191 countries between 1940 and 2020. The study factored in variables such as average rainfall, temperature, and GDP per capita to address inter-country disparities.

Researchers developed a novel climate change index, combining rainfall and temperature data. Their study indicates that a 1°C global temperature increase (0.5°C below the Paris Agreement limit) associates with a five-month and one-week average life expectancy decrease. Additionally, a 10-point rise in the index is forecasted to reduce life expectancy by six months.

Climate change disproportionately affects women

The climate change index developed will serve as a universal tool for public understanding thus standardizing climate change discourse globally. Highlighting that climate change disproportionately affects females, reducing their life expectancy more than males, the study urges immediate global action.

 Emphasizing the need to contain temperature rise for public health, the researchers champion for prioritizing greenhouse gas emission reduction and adapting to changes in environment. Additionally, they recommend localized studies on severe weather events such as tsunamis, floods, and wildfires, which demand more than rainfall and temperature analysis alone.

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate change are crucial for minimizing associated health risks, according to the study published in PLoS Climate journal. Countries need to take swift action to contain global temperature rise and there is need for proactive initiatives to safeguard life expectancy and global population health.

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