Global warming will cause productivity loss: ILO report

By 2030, 2.2 per cent of total working hours is expected to be lost due to rising heat.


According to an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, global warming is expected to increase heat stress amongst workers, especially in the agriculture sector. The impact will be so much that there will be a productivity loss equal to 80 million full-time jobs in the next ten years.

It is estimated that by 2030, 2.2 percent of total working hours across the globe will be lost due to rising temperatures.

Titled ‘Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity’, the report reveals that this percentage is expected to rise to more than double that of western Africa and southern Asia, which are the regions facing the maximum impact.

This will naturally result in economic losses—approx. 1.4 per cent of global gross domestic product, that is, about $2.4 trillion (2.1 trillion euros).

However, this is simply a ‘conservative estimate’ reveals ILO, on the basis of assumptions that warming will be restricted to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. But then, in all likelihood, warming will double.

The report also assumes that in the agriculture sector as well as in the construction space, work can be done in the shade too. But then, that is not always possible in these sectors, which suffer maximum impact of warming.

Heat stress will have terrible repercussions for not just employers and organisations, but for the employees and the world economy, as a whole.

Heat stress results in temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius, when humidity is high. Naturally, such conditions pose a health hazard to the workers, adversely affecting their physical and mental capabilities and productivity.

Heatwaves will occur more frequently and with more intensity in the coming years. This will affect productivity in all sectors, but the maximum brunt will be faced by the agriculture sector.

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