Tesla and electric vehicles have saved at least 120,000 lives so far. Not A Tesla App initially reported on the results of a study that reflected these statistics. I’m going to dive into that study momentarily.
The article noted that a high EV adoption rate isn’t just good news for our planet. It is increasing the survival chances of our future generations. The study, published in 2021 in Nature Communications, noted that adding 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020 was equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 3.5 Americans. Those 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide could also cause one extra death globally from 2020 through 2100.
How Tesla And EVs Saved At Least 120,000 Lives So Far
The article pointed to Tesla’s recent Impact Report. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a typical passenger car emits around 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. In Tesla’s Impact Report, Tesla shared that in 2021, its global fleet of vehicles, energy storage, and solar panels combined avoided the emissions of 8.4 million metric tons of CO2e.
The article noted that according to Tesla’s Impact Report and the Nature Communications study, we can save around 40 metric tons of carbon over the course of a lifetime for every person who makes the switch from internal combustion engine vehicles to EVs. According to Not A Tesla App,
“Since every 4,000 metric tons of carbon emissions are predicted to result in an additional death, around 20,000 lives have been saved as a result. If we take into account the 10 million electric cars sold by other manufacturers, the number of lives saved increases to a staggering 120,000.”
The study in Nature Communications, titled The Mortality Cost of Carbon, was published in 2021. It used integrated assessment models (IAMs) which found that the social cost of carbon, prescribed optimal climate policy, and human mortality impacts are limited and haven’t been updated to the latest scientific understanding.
To solve this issue, the researchers extended the DICE-2016 integrated assessments model to include temperature-related mortality impacts. They also introduced another metric: the mortality cost of carbon. This metric estimated the number of deaths caused by the emissions of one additional metric ton of CO2. According to the study,
“In the baseline emissions scenario, the 2020 MCC is 2.26 × 10‒4 [low to high estimate −1.71× 10‒4 to 6.78 × 10‒4] excess deaths per metric ton of 2020 emissions. This implies that adding 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020—equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 3.5 average Americans—causes one excess death globally in expectation between 2020-2100.”
What The Study Found
The study found that the 2020 mortal cost of carbon (MCC) is the number of expected temperature-related excess deaths globally from 2020-2100 caused by the emission of one additional metric ton of CO2e in 2020.
“Our central estimate 2020 MCC also implies that reducing (adding) 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020 saves one life (causes one excess death) in expectation globally between 2020 and 2100. In all, 4,434 metric tons is equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 3.5 average Americans, 146.2 Nigerians, and 12.8 average world people.”
Tesla & EVs Are Saving Lives. So Is Clean Energy.
Although Tesla and EVs are saving lives in this respect, the study’s results show that the work is far from complete. The study suggested that reducing 1,276 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2020 which is the equivalent to the lifetime emissions of an average American, would reduce 0.29 excess deaths between 2020 and 2100.