If the UK achieves its goal of net zero by 2050, it will bring an extra two million years of life.
That’s according to a study by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), which investigated the health benefits that a net zero world would provide.
Mortality rates will drop and people will live with fewer health conditions, the research suggests.
It reveals that retrofitting homes with insulation would be the reason behind more than 830,000 of these additional two million years of life.
Dr James Milner from LSHTM said: “Our modelling confirms that there are significant health benefits to implementing net zero policies. Not only are these policies essential for mitigating climate change, they also make us healthier.”
Explaining the critical role of insulation, Dr Milner continued: “Housing in England and Wales is poorly insulated compared to other countries, so actions taken towards improving home energy efficiency prove particularly beneficial to reducing carbon emissions and improving health.”
The reduction of air pollution, dietary changes and increases to exercise were all considered in investigating how net zero would change people’s health.
Alongside insulation, switching to renewable energy accounted for more than 650,000 extra years of life and cutting the amount of red meat eaten accounted for more than 400,000.
The remaining years were added from moving away from petrol and diesel-powered transport and upping the amount of walking and cycling undertaken by the average person.
“If we move faster in adopting more environmentally friendly diets and active ways of travelling, the health benefits will be even greater,” Dr Milner concluded.