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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)

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Climate Change Would Affect Health Of Indian Children: Lancet

Climate change would hit health of Indian children hard, says study by Lancet

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Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change. Pixabay

Children in India will be particularly vulnerable to the ill effects of climate change such as worsening air quality, higher food prices and rise in infectious diseases, warns a new study published in the journal The Lancet.

Climatic suitability for the Vibrio bacteria that cause cholera is rising three per cent a year in India since the early 1980s, said the report.

“With its huge population and high rates of healthcare inequality, poverty, and malnutrition, few countries are likely to suffer from the health effects of climate change as much as India,” said study co-author Poornima Prabhakaran from the Public Health Foundation of India.

“Diarrhoeal infections, a major cause of child mortality, will spread into new areas, whilst deadly heatwaves, similar to the one in 2015 that killed thousands of people in India, could soon become the norm,” Prabhakaran said.

Through adolescence and into adulthood, a child born today will be breathing more toxic air, driven by the fossil fuels and made worse by rising temperatures.

This is especially damaging to young people as their lungs are still developing, so polluted air takes a great toll, contributing to reduced lung function, worsening asthma, and increasing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Later in life, a child born today will face increased risk from severe floods, prolonged droughts, and wildfires.

 

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Children in India breathe toxic air and may develop lung diseases. Pixabay

Most countries have experienced an increase in people exposed to wildfires since 2001-2004 with a financial toll per person 48 times larger than flooding.

India alone saw an increase of more than 21 million exposures, and China around 17 million, resulting in direct deaths and respiratory illness as well as loss of homes, said the report.

“Over the past two decades, the Government of India has launched many initiatives and programmes to address a variety of diseases and risk factors. But this report shows that the public health gains achieved over the past 50 years could soon be reversed by the changing climate,” Prabhakaran said.

The “Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change” is a yearly analysis tracking progress across 41 key indicators, demonstrating what action to meet Paris Agreement targets — or business as usual — means for human health.

The project is a collaboration between 120 experts from 35 institutions including the World Health Organisation (WHO), World Bank, University College London, and Tsinghua University.

For the world to meet its UN climate goals and protect the health of the next generation, the energy landscape will have to change drastically, the report warns.

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Nothing short of a 7.4 per cent year-on-year cut in fossil CO2 emissions from 2019 to 2050 will limit global warming to the more ambitious goal of 1.5 degree Celsius, said the report. If the world follows a business-as-usual pathway, with high carbon emissions and climate change continuing at the current rate, a child born today will face a world on average over 4 degree Celsius warmer by their 71st birthday, threatening their health at every stage of their lives. (IANS)