Just when we thought love couldn’t get any more complicated, science proves us wrong.
The National Bureau of Economic Research just released a new report revealing that climate change isn’t only harming our planet, it’s also harming our love lives. Specifically, when it’s hot out, couples are less likely to be intimate, which, in turn, means that birth rates will also go down. “Our innovative approach allows for presumably random variation in the distribution of daily temperatures to affect birth rates up to 24 months into the future,” the research team writes. “We find that additional days above 80°F cause a large decline in birth rates approximately 8 to 10 months later.”
Economists from three different universities – Tulane University, the University of California-Santa Barbara, and the University of Central Florida – did their own research by comparing temperature and fertility data that spans across 80 years. What they found was that a temperature of 80ºF or hotter leads to a .4% drop in birth rates nine months later. To put this in perspective, there were exactly 1,165 less baby deliveries across the United States.
Right off the bat, this sounds like it’s probably a bad thing – but there’s actually two different perspectives one can take. One is that, since less babies are being born, this would be bad for the economy. It means that fewer people are spending money on children and it means that these children won’t be spending their own money in the future. Additionally, this would also cause for there to be less people in the future workforce.
But in regards to the environment, a decrease in population would actually be a good thing. Since the human race has reached epic overpopulation levels, this means that more habitats are being destroyed to make room for our species. It also entails that more resources are used, more pollution is released, and that our relationship with Mother Nature becomes increasingly strained. If fewer children are born, this would sufficiently lighten the load that’s already on our environment. It would also help to placate the climate change that’s causing this birth rate reduction in the first place.
Now, you’re probably wondering, “So… what’s the solution?” According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, our savior is: air conditioning. Yes, air conditioning can be used to encourage getting intimate during warmer months. “The rise of air conditioning may have helped offset some heat-related fertility losses in the U.S. since the 1970s,” Bloomberg writes.
However, air conditioners also contribute to climate change, so we’ve reached another dilemma. “Air conditioning, refrigeration, and insulation often contain factory-made HFCs,” writes The Guardian. “They are greenhouse gases that can be hundreds or thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in damaging our climate system, yet their global use is rapidly increasing every year.” (Okay, so maybe air conditioning isn’t the best solution.)
The bottom line? We’re definitely seeing quantitative proof that climate change is happening, and that it’s negatively affecting our world (and our lives). Read up on what you can do to alleviate the situation right here.
[Image via Shutterstock]