May 17, 2022 6:53 am

Climate change and outdoor workers

Francis Martin Leon 6 min
Outdoor workers are exposed to harsh weather conditions in a warming world. Image by PXHERE

It is the result of a new study recently published that warns that eClimate change is making it worse. Researchers in the United States, who estimated the current cost at $2.1 trillion each year, said the negative effects of stifling temperatures on people doing heavy work in agriculture and construction had been underestimated.

The new figures come amid a growing focus on the serious impacts of climate change on health, not only as projections of future damage from heat waves and other extreme events, but also as consequences already unfolding in a warming world.

Lost in millionaire hours

The study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, analyzed data on the humid heat, particularly dangerous because the body is less able to cool itself by sweating.

The researchers estimated the number of workers exposed to unsafe levels during the 20 years to 2020, as well as the impact on work compared to the period from 1981 to 2000.

The researchers incorporated findings from laboratory research published last year that suggest productivity declines at lower temperature and humidity levels than previously thought.

They found that between 2001 and 2020, exposure to high humidity and heat was linked to an estimated 677 billion hours of work lost per year in heavy outdoor work.

It suggested that nearly three-quarters of the world’s working-age population already lives in places where background weather conditions are associated with about 100 hours of heat-related lost work per person per year.

If outdoor workers are losing productivity at these lower temperature and humidity levels, then job losses in the tropics could be 500 to 600 hours per person per year, which is more than double previous estimates.said lead researcher Luke Parsons of Duke University.

The research found that India currently loses around 259 billion hours a year due to humid heat impacts at work, while China loses 72 billion hours and Bangladesh loses 32 billion hours.

Impacts in a warmer world

Over the past four decades, as global temperatures have risen, the study found that heat-related job losses have increased by at least 9 percent.

The authors estimate that climate change is to blame for the annual loss of an additional 25 billion working hours in India over the past 20 years compared to the previous 20 years, and an additional 4 billion hours per year in China over the same period.

Parsons said that other hot and humid regions, such as the southeastern United States, could also be experiencing “significant” job losses.

These results imply that we do not have to wait 1.5°C of global warming to experience the impacts of climate change on work and the economy.“, He said.

The warming we have already experienced may be associated with large-scale background job losses. Additional future warming magnifies these impacts“.

the annual report Countdown on Health and Humanity from The Lancet of last year warned that, in general, About 295 billion potential work hours were lost due to extreme heat exposure in 2020, with an average loss of potential income in the poorest countries equivalent to between four and eight percent of income in the national gross domestic product (GDP).

Research published last year in the journal Nature Climate Change suggested that 100,000 annual heat-related deaths were caused by climate change.

Last year, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that global warming is virtually certain to exceed the Paris agreement threshold of a 1.5C cap, probably within a decade.


Global labor loss due to humid heat exposure underestimated for outdoor workers. Luke A Parsons, Yuta J Masuda, Timm Kroeger, Drew Shindell, Nicholas H Wolff and June T Spector. 13 January 2022. Environmental Research Letters, Volume 17, Number 1.…

This entry was posted in Reports on 24 Jan 2022 by Francisco Martín León

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