Climate change kills the mood: economists warn of less sex on a warmer planet

Climate change kills the mood: economists warn of less sex on a warmer planet

Climate change has been blamed for many things over the years. Never, until now, has anyone thought it was possible to see it as a kind of contraceptive.

Hot weather leads to diminished “coital frequency,” according to a new working paper put out by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Three economists studied 80 years of U.S. fertility and temperature data and found that when it’s hotter than 80 degrees F, a large decline in births follows within 10 months. Would-be parents tend not to make up for lost time in subsequent, cooler months.

An extra “hot day” (the economists use quotation marks with the phrase) leads to a 0.4 percent drop in birth rates nine months later, or 1,165 fewer deliveries across the U.S. A rebound in subsequent months makes up just 32 percent of the gap.

The researchers, who hail from Tulane University, the University of California-Santa Barbara, and the University of Central Florida, believe that their findings give policymakers three major things to think about.

1. Birth rates do not bounce back completely after heat waves

That’s a problem. As summers heat up, developed countries may see already low birth rates sink even lower. Plunging birth rates can play havoc with an economy. China’s leaders recently acknowledged this by ditching the longtime one-child policy and doubling the number of children couples are allowed to have. A sub-replacement U.S. birthrate means fewer workers to pay Social Security benefits for retirees, among other consequences.

2. More autumn conceptions means more more deliveries in summer

Infants experience a higher rate of poor health with summer births, “though the reasons for worse health in the summer are not well-established,” the authors write. One possibility may be “third-trimester exposure to high temperatures.”

3. Air conditioning might prove to be an aphrodisiac

Control over the climate at home might make a difference. The researchers suggest that the rise of air conditioning may have helped offset some heat-related fertility losses in the U.S. since the 1970s.

 

Source: Bloomberg

Date: November 2015

Read the article

Read the report


Tags assigned to this article:
climate changehealthUnited States

Related Articles

A world at risk in 2016

From the environment to international security and the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016

Europe offshore wind build-out must triple to bring Paris goals within reach

To support the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting temperature increase to 1.5°C, Europe will need a CO2-neutral electricity supply by

Climate change presents ‘potentially catastrophic’ risks to public health, Lancet Commission study finds

Climate change poses such a threat to public health it risks undoing the gains of the past 50 years, a