It's no secret that birth rates have been declining for some time. While there are many possible contributors to this slump, including more birth control and the economy, it turns out that the real reason might be something you did not expect.
The reason might be climate change.
It seems that climate change might be what's behind diminished sex drives and the declining birth rates; at least that's what a recent study in the National Bureau of Economic Research says. Specifically, the issue is the heat.
"Extreme heat leads to a sizeable fall in births," the researchers wrote. "Temperature extremes could affect coital frequency. It could affect hormone levels and sex drives."
That’s 1,165 fewer babies born daily because of climate change. This really adds up over time.
"I wouldn't say it is the end of human civilization, but I would suggest it is going to add to the cost of climate change," said Tulane University economist and lead author of the study Alan Barreca,, according to CNN.
Barreca added that a lower fertility rate could be significant for the nations such the U.S., because of their below-replacement birth rates.
Some couples might wait until cooler temperatures to make up for the lost time during the hot months, but this only helps with some of the birth decline. The study says that climate change will move more births to the summer months when the third trimester of pregnancy faces dangerously hot temperatures.
There is a way to fix this.
The study concluded that the best way to counter the impact of climate change is air conditioning. This might restore the diminished sex drive during the hot months and increase the birth rates.
The irony is that the energy used by air conditioning contributes to climate change.
The ultimate catch 22, indeed.
Cover image via iStock