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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

2000-2019: The Hottest Decade Measured

US Experts: Last Decade was Hottest Ever Recorded

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Hottest decade global warming
Last year was the second hottest ever due to global warming. Pixabay

The last 10 years were the hottest decade ever measured on Earth, last year was the second warmest ever and NASA says “you haven’t seen anything yet.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that the average global temperature in the 2010s was 14.7 degrees Celsius, with eight of the 10 hottest years ever recorded.

Parts of Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and South America had record-high temperatures in 2019. Alaska’s average temperature was above freezing for the first time in recorded history.

Hottest decade global warming
People walk outside of the COP25 climate talks congress in Madrid, Spain. VOA

Many climate scientists who have seen the study said there was no other explanation for the record-breaking warming than human activity.

“This is going to be part of what we see every year until we stabilize greenhouse gases,” said Gavin Schmidt, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back. This shows that what’s happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon.”

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Experts say natural causes of a warmer atmosphere, including more heat from the sun and climate variations, are not big enough to explain the long-term temperature rise.

For those who still question global warming, the scientists say all one has to do is look at melting ice sheets, more powerful storms, floods in some parts of the world and drought in others as clear evidence. (VOA)