An ILO report on the increase in heat stress resulting from global warming is projected to lead to global productivity losses equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs in the year 2030.
The projections based on a conservative global temperature rise of 1.5°C suggest that in 2030, 2.2 percent of total working hours worldwide will be lost because of higher temperatures, a loss equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs. This is equivalent to a global economic loss of about US$2.4 trillion.
Since this is a conservative estimate the situation is likely to be worse if the global mean temperature rise exceeds 1.5°C.
According to the report, agriculture and construction will be the worst affected sectors and even that, it was assumed that work in these sectors is carried out in a shade. This is where farmers and construction workers in poor countries will be most vulnerable. As the global temperature rises it will be unbearable for them to work since in most cases they work under the sun.
“Excess heat during work is an occupational health risk; it restricts workers’ physical functions and capabilities, work capacity and thus, productivity. In extreme cases, it can lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.” the report stated.
Chief of Unit in the ILO’s Research Department Catherine Saget says “the impact of heat stress on labor productivity is a serious consequence of climate change. We can expect to see more inequality between low and high-income countries and worsening working conditions for the most vulnerable.”
The average farmer or construction worker in Ghana work in the sun with no safeguards as it stands now. If the current change in global temperature continues, the heat will be so unbearable, we may as well starve.
This is the time for governments of poor countries to wake up to the reality of global warming and put in place measures to stem the tide or solve the problems it’s likely to create going forward.
On the part of Ghana, President Akufo-Addo says measures to deal with the phenomenon of climate change are contained in his Government’s Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies according to a press statement released by the Communications Bureau at the Jubilee House.
The president believes policies such as planting for food and jobs, the ban on illegal mining and the employment of some 20,000 young people to plant more than 10 million trees are what’s needed to reverse the current trend in climate change to pre-industrial levels.