Global warming is continuously affecting our surroundings. Rising sea levels, droughts, forest fires and floods have become regular events in a world that sees 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year.
According to a new study, climate change at increasing levels may make outdoor labour dangerous for people. The study, titled "Exposure to excessive heat and impacts on labour productivity linked to cumulative CO2 emissions," which was published in the Nature Journal. It has been published by Yann Chavaillaz, a former postdoctoral researcher at Concordia and the Ouranos Institute, and Damon Matthews, professor and Concordia Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment.
The researchers studied how increasingly high temperatures are affecting labour productivity. They made these calculations using rest time recommendations per hour of labour and heat exposure. They found a direct relationship between global warming and GDP. Every trillion tonnes of CO2 emitted causes global GDP to fall by half a percent, the study claims. It adds that we may have already lost two percent of global GDP to global warming.
Furthermore, it states that the vital economic sectors of agriculture, mining, quarrying, manufacturing, and construction are most at risk due to climate change. These sectors contribute to more than 70 percent of the GDP of developing countries.
"The thresholds of heat exposure leading to labour productivity loss are likely to be exceeded sooner and more extensively in developing countries in warmer parts of the world. These countries are also more vulnerable because a higher fraction of their workforce is employed in these sectors and because they have less ability to implement infrastructural changes that deal with a changing climate," Matthews stated.
If the labour productivity declines, it will lead to increase in the cost of doing business in low-income countries, which will lead to flight of capital from these countries.
The study has indicated that acting on climate change is imperative for developing countries, even though the major source of climate distress remain in developed economies.