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Rising Heat from Climate Change Leading to Loss of 80 Million Jobs by 2030

A temperature rise of 1.5C by the end of century could lead to a 2.2% drop in working hours

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Heat, Climate Change, Jobs
An Iraqi street vendor protects his head from the sun by using a piece of cardboard as a hat during a heat wave in the capital Baghdad, June 14, 2019. VOA

Rising heat from climate change could lead to the loss of 80 million jobs by 2030, with poor countries hardest hit, the United Nations said Monday, as Europe sweltered in record temperatures.

A temperature rise of 1.5C by the end of century could lead to a 2.2% drop in working hours, equal to 80 million full-time jobs, costing the global economy $2.4 trillion, according to projections by the U.N. International Labor Organization (ILO).

The ILO said people would be unable to work because of the health risks posed by higher temperatures.

Impact on labor

Heat, Climate Change, Jobs
A worker splashes water to cool himself off on a hot summer afternoon in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India, June 13, 2019. VOA

“The impact of heat stress on labor productivity is a serious consequence of climate change, which adds to other adverse impacts, such as changing rain patterns, raising sea levels and loss of biodiversity,” said ILO’s Catherine Saget.

The World Health Organization has said heat stress linked to climate change is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050.

Heat stress occurs when the body absorbs more heat than is tolerable. Extreme heat can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and exhaustion, increase mortality, and exacerbate existing health conditions.

Agricultural workers, especially women, who make up the bulk of the 940 million laborers in the sector, will be most affected, the ILO said, accounting for about 60% of all working hours lost because of heat stress by 2030.

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If global temperatures rise as predicted, the construction industry will account for about 19% of lost working hours, with the poorest countries in Southeast Asia and west Africa worst hit, the ILO added.

Transport, tourism, sport and industrial sectors are among those that will also be affected by rising heat, the ILO said.

“In addition to the massive economic costs of heat stress, we can expect to see more inequality between low and high income countries and worsening working conditions for the most vulnerable, as well as displacement of people,” Saget said.

Paris Agreement goals

Heat, Climate Change, Jobs
Rising heat from climate change could lead to the loss of 80 million jobs by 2030. Pixabay

In 2015, countries signing the Paris Agreement set a goal of limiting a rise in average world surface temperatures to “well below” 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial times, while “pursuing efforts” to limit rising temperatures to 1.5C (2.7F).

Temperatures have already risen about 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times. Scientists say further increases risk triggering tipping points that could make parts of the world uninhabitable, devastate farming and drown coastal cities.

The World Meteorological Organization said last week that 2019 was on track to be among the world’s hottest years on record, which would make 2015-2019 the hottest five-year period.

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Europe has been in the grip of record-breaking heat waves, with wildfires burning tracts of land in France and Spain at the weekend, and scorching temperatures across the continent killing at least seven people. (VOA)

Next Story

Great Barrier Reef Facing Unprecedented Challenges Amid Serious Ecological Disturbances

In light of the report, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia called for urgent climate change action

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great barrier reef
"The Great Barrier Reef is still beautiful and it is resilient, but it is facing unprecedented challenges," AIMS Chief Executive Officer Paul Hardisty said. Wikimedia Commons

The health of Australias Great Barrier Reef is facing unprecedented challenges amid serious ecological disturbances, a report released on Thursday said. Crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks — which have decimated breeding populations of corals over large areas — coral bleaching and cyclones were among the “major disturbances” in the past five years that have caused a general decline in coral cover in the world’s largest living organism, Efe news quoted the report by the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) as saying.

“The Great Barrier Reef is still beautiful and it is resilient, but it is facing unprecedented challenges,” AIMS Chief Executive Officer Paul Hardisty said. The report added that chronic stressors such as high turbidity, higher ocean temperatures and changing ocean chemistry affect recovery rates and more frequent disturbances shorten periods of recovery time.

“We know reefs can recover given time and the right conditions, but there has been little relief from disturbances in recent years to allow significant recovery to occur,” AIMS Long Term Monitoring Program leader and ecologist Mike Emslie said.

great barrier reef
In light of the report, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia called for urgent climate change action. Wikimedia Commons

The decline was measured in the central and southern areas of the reef, while the northern region has stabilized. In light of the report, the World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia called for urgent climate change action. “Australia must urgently reduce its dependency on fossil fuels and rapidly speed up the transition to a renewable economy,” WWF-Australia Head of Oceans Richard Leck said.

ALSO READ: Global Warming Threatens UN Goals of Tackling Inequality, Conflicts

Last month, a Change.org campaign was launched to push for citizenship for the Great Barrier Reef. The petition demands the reef be given rights akin to that of humans, including the right to health, freedom from torture or inhuman treatment or punishment, the right to maintain own means of subsistence and the right to life.

The Great Barrier Reef, home to 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of molluscs, began to deteriorate in the 1990s due to the double impact of water warming and increased acidity due to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. (IANS)