Global warming could rob people of the capacity to earn a decent living in the future, and this affect is in addition to the damage it is already doing to the planet and the health of the world's population, a new study has found.
The study, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a link between experiencing heat waves in childhood and lower earnings in adulthood.
For every day that a child between conception and age one spends in temperatures over 32 degrees Celsius, there is a direct 0.1% drop in their average income at age 30, the study reportedly states. That simply means if a child spends a lot of time in the sweltering heat, it is possible that their chance to earn a higher income as an adult gets slightly affected.
The study was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of California, Stanford, Berkeley, and the US Department of the Treasury. So far, global warming has only been reported to impact human beings' physical and mental health.
The study pointed out that fetuses and newborns are especially "sensitive to hot temperatures because their thermoregulatory and sympathetic nervous systems are not fully developed", but the researchers did not explain how exposure to extreme heat in early life goes on to affect earning capabilities. The report, meanwhile, noted that an extensive research was underway to understand the link.
"In poor countries in hot climates that don't have air conditioning, we could imagine these effects being even more dramatic," says Maya Rossin-Slater of Stanford's Department of Health Research and Policy and a co-author of the study, warning that people in developing nations may be more prone to the financial effects of global warming.
Meanwhile, Patrick Kinney, a Beverly Brown professor of urban health at the Boston University School of Public Health, responded to the study calling it "bizarre", but later told Futurism that the "study is very intriguing and as noted in the commentary, is significant in suggesting that climate warming has long-term negative consequences for wage earnings".
"We know that health is closely tied to economic status. Until now, most studies only show short-term effects on health outcomes. The long-term aspect is what's new. Very interesting and seemingly well-done study," the professor, who was not part of the study, told the outlet via email.