Rising temperatures are already hitting the global workforce, and failing to tackle climate could risk billions of dollars in lost economic output and undermine efforts to reduce poverty.
That’s the stark warning of a new report released for International Workers’ Memorial Day, which shows that as extreme heat forces people to take more breaks, work less, and face increasingly serious health risks, families, incomes, and economic output all suffer.
According to the analysis from the Climate Vulnerable Forum and the International Labour Organisation, some emerging economies could see 10 per cent of working hours lost, with the lowest paid workers facing the biggest risks.
Globally, failing to tackle climate change could cost US$2.4 trillion a year by 2030 in lost productivity and health costs.
Coming just days after governments reaffirmed their commitment to the Paris Agreement this latest report is yet another reminder to leaders of the the huge benefits for their citizens and their economies of turning their national pledges into strong and definitive actions.
- Climate change impacts our health, our happiness, and our productivity. From reduced crop yields to disrupted access to clean water, the greater spread of disease to a rise in migration and social unrest, rising temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are already bringing huge impacts to human health and well-being. Now new research shows warmer temperatures are putting workers’ health at risk, which is in turn compromising productivity and undermining growth.
- The solution: a just transition to a 100 per cent renewable future for all. While workers continue to be exposed to the impacts of rising temperatures, they are also bearing the brunt of the world’s addiction to dirty fossil fuels, with oil and coal volatility already costing thousands of jobs in 2016. Only by setting a clear roadmap to a future powered by clean, secure renewables – and one that puts workers at its centre – will governments protect their citizens and their economies.
- Urgent and ambitious action will mean big rewards. Even with government’s current climate commitments, lost working hours could exceed 10 to 15 per cent, bringing multi-billion dollar economic loses in the most vulnerable economies. Meanwhile, doubling renewable capacity by 2030 could boost GDP by $1.3 trillion, create 24.4 million new jobs and save 4 million lives a year, while helping countries free themselves from the mercy of volatile fossil fuels and move closer to a zero-carbon future.