The consequences of climate change are clearly visible in our country. Between October 1, 2022 and May 2, 2023, a rainfall of 346 liters per square meter was recorded, which is about 26% less than the average recorded in the same months between 1991 and 2020. In parallel, Spain has experienced the warmest April ever. From 1961, record years began, and AEMET recently reported that next summer will be hotter than normal.
Let’s do it. It seems that high temperature will be normal in our country in the coming months. This situation poses a serious threat to the health of some workers to such an extent that it may end their lives. For this reason, the government last week approved a package of measures that will make it possible to restrict or limit some jobs in the event of a high temperature alert, with the aim of protecting these professionals. This is, among other things, an example of how climate change is capable of revising the economy and the world of work.
worst part. In relation to how climate change modifies the economy and the labor market, it is necessary to mention the report ‘Working on a Warmer Planet’ (“Working on a Warmer Planet”) published by the ILO on July 1, 2019. That document indicated that economic losses associated with productivity losses due to climate change would be $2,400 million in 2030. The agency also pointed out that agriculture and construction would be the sectors most affected by global warming.
conservative estimate. At the same time, the ILO estimated that by 2030, 2.2% of the total hours worked worldwide would be lost “in productive losses equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs” due to higher temperatures. However, the text made it clear that these figures are “conservative”, as they were based on the idea that, in the foreseeable future, it may be possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5ºC by the end of this century.
low productivity. For this reason, the ILO warns that if this limit is exceeded and sun working days in construction and agriculture in tropical countries increase, 3.8% of working hours will be lost globally: 136 million full-time jobs. Equal to. The forecast was alarming: “As global warming continues beyond 2030, rising temperatures are expected to further reduce labor productivity.”
South Asia and West Africa. On the other hand, the same document indicated that although the impact of commercial heat stress would be global, regions in South Asia and West Africa would bear the brunt. According to the ILO, in the scenario of controlling global warming at 1.5ºC, South Asia and West Africa would lose working hours of 5.3% and 4.8% respectively in 2030, equivalent to 43 million and 9 million full-time jobs.
The heat has taken Spain in its grip. On the other hand, the organization pointed out that Europe would better cope with the consequences of global warming on productivity, although in an asymmetric way: the effects of heat stress would be more pronounced in the south of the continent. In this sense, the ILO indicated that higher temperatures would result in a loss of productivity equivalent to about 8,000 full-time jobs in Spain in 2030.
Threat on 34% of G-20 jobs. In another report published in 2018, the ILO warned that between 2000 and 2015, 23 million work years were lost annually due to the effects of climate change, with China, Brazil and India the most affected G-20 countries. Are. Furthermore, that document warned that in the Group of 20, 34% of jobs “depend directly on ecosystem services and, therefore, on the effective and sustainable management of the environment.”
Solutions and Opportunities. Solutions proposed by the ILO include structural transformation of rural economies, strengthening automation of work processes and promoting social dialogue. Furthermore, in December 2022, the agency noted that policies based on the United Nations’ ‘nature-based solutions’ concept could help protect the environment and create 20 million new jobs.
Serious Problem. Finally, the ILO will hold a meeting this week titled ‘When is it too hot to work?’, which will once again discuss the impact of climate change on the world of work. Such colloquia is necessary to understand the magnitude of climate change and to deny those who are still ignorant of the danger our planet is facing.