Impact of Global Warming on Jobs in India

The report, ‘Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity and decent work’ released by the International Labour Organisation makes the following observations about the impact of global warming on jobs in India:

  • India is expected to lose an equivalent of 34 million jobs as a result of global warming by 2030 as a result of an increase in “heat stress” resulting from global warming.
  • India lost 4.3 per cent of working hours in 1995 because of heat stress and is projected to lose 5.8% of its working hours in 2030. This corresponds to 34 million jobs.
  • The projected losses in working hours are estimated as 9.04% in agriculture (in shade), 5.29% in manufacturing, 9.04% in construction, and 1.48% in services.
  • Even though most of the impact in India will be felt in the agricultural sector, more and more working hours are expected to be lost in the construction sector, where heat stress affects both male and female workers.

Global Projections

  • 2 per cent of total working hours will be lost worldwide in 2030 because of higher temperatures. This will result in a loss equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs and equivalent global economic losses of US$2,400 billion.
  • The agricultural sector is projected to account for 60% of working hours lost due to heat stress by 2030 and an estimated 19% of global working hours is likely to be lost in the construction sector.

The projections in the report are based on a global temperature rise of 1.5°C by the end of the century. It defines Heat stress as heat in excess of what the body can tolerate without suffering physiological impairment. It generally occurs at temperatures above 35°C, in high humidity.

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