Climate change caused by our CO2 emissions is costing lives. However, traditional carbon footprint calculators and sustainability indicators make this reality elusive. With his Kill Score project, economist Jakob Thomä makes the effects of our actions visible by turning abstract numbers into future deaths from climate change.
The latest we saw after the floods in the Ahr Valley is that climate change can also kill people in Germany. But who is responsible for this? The Kill Score project is translated on the website. www.killscore.org as the first of its kind, based on recent scientific findings, our CO2 footprint is the potential future deaths from climate change. The “Slightly Different” footprint calculator allows users to calculate the score of countries, companies, financial investments and personal murder.
A project by Jakob Thomä, economist and initiator of the sustainability platform MeinFairMögen.de, shows that unsustainable actions actually cost human lives: more than 500 million people are expected to die this century as a result of our economic activities. This would be almost twice as many as all war and political casualties of the 20th century combined.
killscore.org is based on the book The Kill Score: On the trail of our ecological and social footprint, published by Klett-Cotta Verlag as a bestseller in October. The book and the Kill Score calculator were inspired by the realization that traditional sustainability metrics are often misunderstood. The average CO2 footprint in Germany is 10.8 tonnes (according to the Federal Environment Agency) – but what does this number mean? What are the specific environmental consequences of our actions?
“When we talk about climate protection and the necessary measures, very large numbers are often mentioned,” explains Thomä. “But very few people know how to classify these numbers. For example, if Germany emits more than 760 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2021, that’s a huge number, but it’s hard to put it into perspective. The CO2 footprint calculator calculates a personal 8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent trace, the question remains: is this a good thing or a bad thing?
According to academic projections, DAX40 companies alone cause more than 60,000 future climate casualties each year through direct and indirect energy-related emissions. Also, by pessimistic calculations and maintaining the current average CO2 footprint, every German should be responsible for one climate-related death in their lifetime. Thus, even conservatively, almost 200,000 future deaths from climate change per year are attributable to Germany.
Scientific basis for calculating the kill score
Turning CO2 emissions into climate death, the calculators on the site are based on current research: Daniel Bressler’s 2021 “Human costs of anthropogenic warming” and “The cost of anthropogenic global warming: semi-quantitative prediction and the 1000-ton rule”, 2019. by Richard Parncutt. “The results of these two studies provide two different scenarios that form the basis of the ‘kill score’ calculation,” explains Thomä. “While the more optimistic model predicts one death from climate change per 4,434 tonnes of CO2 emissions, the pessimistic scenario already predicts one death from climate change per 1,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions – roughly the amount of CO2 each German produces on average in his lifetime.” “.
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Original content: Jakob Thomä, transmitted by news aktuell