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A handful of fossil companies will cause 11.5 million excess deaths from heat

excess deaths from heat

credits Syed Muazzam Ali Taqi su Unsplash

The Global Witness Report

Five of the world’s leading oil and gas majors will alone cause more than 11.5 million premature deaths from heat by 2100. With their industrial strategies that continue to support a fossil-based business model, they will be responsible for about 51 billion tons of CO2 (GtCO2) by the middle of the century, roughly 14 times more than the EU generates in a year. If they adjusted their activities to a climate neutrality scenario in 2050, the number of deaths would be halved to 5.5 million.

The NGO Global Witness calculated this by crossing the cost of CO2 mortality and the business plans of Shell, BP, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil and Chevron. The first factor, calculated by Columbia University, considers the relationship between CO2 emissions and heat-related deaths and is a measure of the cost of emissions in terms of human lives. According to the model, every million tons of CO2 emitted in 2020 will cause a further 226 deaths related to excess temperature in the next 80 years.

The final value of 11.5 million excess deaths from heat returns only a part of the concrete impact on the lives of people around the world in the oil and gas sector. But it shows the link between a fossil-based economic model, the urgency to accelerate the energy transition, and the timely effects of global warming.

The increase in world temperature, in fact, makes the heat waves more frequent and intense. The impact of which can be lethal for the most vulnerable population groups, both for health and socio-economic factors (working conditions, energy poverty, etc.). Not all deaths from heat are attributable to global warming. However, a recent study has estimated that more than 1/3 of the nearly 30 million global heat-related deaths between 1991 and 2018 depend on climate change. And the more global warming increases, the worse it gets. In the summer of 2022, in Europe, the most reliable estimates speak of over 60,000 premature deaths due to heat.

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