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Health and Safety

The way in which we produce and consume energy is central to several key aspects of human health.

Cause of Death

In 2017, about 56 million people died in the following ways [5][10].

The following portrays estimated deaths by risk factors. Not all deaths can be attributed to the following risk factors, and multiple risk factors may contribute to a particular death [5][10][17].

The leading cause of indoor air pollution is cooking fuel [16].

Costs of Addressing Risk Factors

The World Bank estimates a cost of $88 to $213 billion per year to provide universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation, safe human waste disposal, and hygiene [7], or $54,000 to $132,000 per death to which unclean water contributes.

Existential Risk

In addition to risks that affect individual human lives, there are risks that threaten civilization or humanity as a whole and may be much more serious, especially over the long term, than currently observed damages. The worst case outcome of climate change is one such risk.

Partial list of risks that threaten civilization or humanity as a whole, or could cause a global catastrophe that kills a substantial fraction of the human population. Risks are chosen on the basis of estimated severity or high level of public concern, and not all plausible hazards to civilization are considered. Sources: Burke et al. [1], EM-DAT [2], Dar ab et al. [3], Ellis et al. [4], Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network [5], Herjavec Group [6], Millett and Snyder-Beattie [8], NASA [9], Scouras [11], SIPRI [12], Talbert [13], Turchin and Denkenberger [14], Wilcox et al. [15], World Health Organization [17][18].

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[1] Burke, M., Davis, W., Diffenbaugh, N. "Large potential reduction in economic damages under UN mitigation targets". Nature 557, pp. 549-553. May 2018.

[2] Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. "EM-DAT, the International Disaster Database". School of Public Health, Université catholique de Louvain. Accessed April 14, 2020.

[3] Dar ab, A., De Rújula, A., Heinz, U. "Will relativistic heavy-ion colliders destroy our planet?". Physics Letters B 470(1-4), pp. 142-148. December 1999.

[4] Ellis, J., Giudice, G., Mangano, M., Tkachev, I., Wiedemann, U. "Review of the safety of LHC collisions". Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics 35(11). September 2008.

[5] Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network. "Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (GBD 2017) Results". Seattle, United States: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). 2018.

[6] Herjavec Group. "The 2019 Official Annual Cybercrime Report". Accessed April 15, 2020.

[7] Hutton, G., Varughese, M. "The Costs of Meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Targets on Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene". The World Bank. January 2016.

[8] Millett, P., Snyder-Beattie, A. "Existential Risk and Cost-Effective Biosecurity". Health Security 15(4), Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2017.

[9] National Aeronautics and Space Administration. "Near-Earth Object Survey and Deflection Analysis of Alternatives". Report to Congress. March 2007.

[10] Roser, M., Ritchie, H. "Causes of Death". Our World in Data. Accessed November 26, 2019.

[11] Scouras, J. "Nuclear War as a Global Catastrophic Risk". Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis 10(2), pp. 274-295. Summer 2019.

[12] Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. "SIPRI Military Expenditure Database". Accessed April 15, 2020.

[13] Talbert, T. "Five Years after the Chelyabinsk Meteor: NASA Leads Efforts in Planetary Defense". National Aeronautics and Space Administration. February 2018.

[14] Turchin, A., Denkenberger, D. "Global catastrophic and existential risks communication scale". Futures 102, pp. 27-38. September 2018.

[15] Wilcox, B., Mitchell, K., Schwandner, F., Lopes, R. "Defending Human Civilization from Supervolcanic Eruptions". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 2017.

[16] World Health Organization. "Household air pollution and health". May 2018.

[17] World Health Organization. "Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of death, 2030s and 2050s". 2014.

[18] World Health Organization. "WHO checklist for influenza pandemic preparedness planning". Department of Communicable Disease, Surveillance and Response, Global Influenza Programme. 2005.