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Workers Won’t Work As Well In A Very Warm World

When it gets too hot, workers and businesses lose out

As climate change continues to warm the planet, more and more of the people who work outdoors will face “hot days.” Think of it as the opposite of snow days. These are periods when excess heat forces local activities to grind to a halt.

Heat can do more than just make it uncomfortable to be outside. A mix of high heat, humidity, low wind and other weather conditions can make it unsafe to do some jobs, such as farming and construction. People’s health can suffer under these conditions. So will family incomes.

Productivity is the term experts use when measuring the quantity and quality of someone’s work. Lost productivity “is a major consequence of the health impacts of global warming,” says Yu Shuang. She’s a climate scientist in Beijing at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Atmospheric Physics. If heat stress keeps people from working, they won’t be able to earn money. And the impacts of that lost productivity can ripple throughout a country’s economy.

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