• Monday, March 04, 2024
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W/Africa to be worst hit as global economy face $2.4trn loss on rising temperature

climate change (3)

An increase in heat stress at work linked to climate change is set to have a massive impact on global productivity and economic losses, especially in agriculture and construction, with regions like West Africa and South-East Asia projected to be worst hit.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) highlighted in that the world’s poorest countries will be worst affected, particularly in these regions and warned that the lost output will be equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs or 2.2 per cent of total working hours worldwide – during 2030.

The heat stress caused by global warming as excess heat at work is an occupational health risk and in extreme cases could equally lead to heatstroke leading to a total annual loss of $2.4 trillion.

Other at-risk sectors include refuse collection, emergency services, transport, tourism and sports, with southern Asian and western African States suffering the biggest productivity losses, equivalent to approximately five per cent of working hours by 2030.

Catherine Saget, Chief of Unit in the ILO’s Research department, in a statement, noted that the impact of heat stress on labour productivity is a serious consequence of climate change which may lead to more inequality between low and high-income countries and worsening working conditions for the most vulnerable as well as displacement of people.

“The impact of heat stress on labour productivity is a serious consequence of climate change, which adds to other adverse impacts such as changing rain patterns, raising sea levels and loss of biodiversity. Construction will also be “severely impacted”, with an estimated 19 per cent of global working hours lost at the end of the next decade”, Saget explained.

Saget further explained that communities in the world’s poorest regions will suffer the most significant economic losses because they often lack the resources to adapt to increased heat, adding that there is need for urgent measures by Governments, employers and workers, focusing on protecting the most vulnerable.

“The economic losses of heat stress will therefore reinforce already existing economic disadvantage, in particular the higher rates of working poverty, informal and vulnerable employment, subsistence agriculture, and a lack of social protection”.

“Lack of adequate infrastructure and improved early warning systems for extreme weather events, and improved implementation of international labour standards in occupational safety and health to help tackle heat-related hazards, may lead to significant economic losses in these regions”, she said.

 

Cynthia Egboboh, Abuja