A new research suggests that global warming not only hampers environment and natural resources but also has an impact on the sex drive. According to a study published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, a non profit research organization, climate change that is causing more hot days is bringing down the birth rate in the US. To understand the impact of global warming on declining birth rates, the investigators estimated the effects of temperature shocks on birth rates in the US between 1931 and 2010.
The innovative approach allowed for presumably random variation in the distribution of daily temperatures to affect birth rates up to 24 months into the future. "We found that additional days above 27 degrees Celsius caused a large decline in birth rates approximately eight to 10 months later," the authors noted.
The initial decline is followed by a partial rebound in births over the next few months, implying that populations can mitigate the fertility cost of temperature shocks by shifting conception month, the study observed. This dynamic adjustment helps explain the observed decline in birth rates during the spring and subsequent increase during the summer.
"The lack of a full rebound suggests that increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century," the authors wrote. According to lead author Alan Barreca, associate professor of economics at Louisiana-based Tulane University, he got interested in conducting the study after he started thinking about seasonal patterns in birth rates.
"I, like many people, was interested in why there are these peaks in birth rates — why most of my friends tend to be born in August or September," said Barreca. According to the study, as an added cost, climate change will shift even more births to the summer months when third trimester exposure to dangerously high temperatures increases. "Based on our analysis of historical changes in the temperature-fertility relationship, we conclude air conditioning could be used to substantially offset the fertility costs of climate change," the authors concluded.