Economy

India has largest heat exposure to labour productivity, says research

Vinson Kurian | Updated on: May 30, 2022

Annual loss of 100 billion hours could go up with increase in warming

A recent study published in ‘Nature Communications’ highlighted that India is the most impacted country with the largest heat exposure to labour productivity. It loses labour productivity of more than 100 billion hours per year while the global sum is 220 billion hours.

Comparable losses in China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and Philippines are relatively much less, the report said. With an additional 1 to 2-degree warming; the labour productivity losses go up to 156 and 230 billion hours, respectively, in India.

Labour productivity loss due to heat waves in high-risk countries

Labour productivity loss due to heat waves in high-risk countries

Losses of up to $311 billion

Sanjay Srivastava, Chief Disaster Risk Reduction at the Bangkok-based UN-ESCAP, explained to BusinessLine that the International Labour Organisation estimates that labour productivity losses associated with reductions in work rate due to heat exposure can be as high as $280-311 billion per year.

These are mostly attributed to losses in low- and middle-income countries including those in South Asia in sectors involving heavy manual labour such as agriculture and construction.

Labour productivity loss due to heat waves across countries — impact from additional global warming

Labour productivity loss due to heat waves across countries — impact from additional global warming

Srivastava recalled that in April this year, the South Asia Climate Outlook Forum had released a consensus statement on the Seasonal Climate Outlook for the 2022 Southwest Monsoon Season (June-September).

Translating the seasonal climate outlook to impact forecasting, the UN-ESCAP had identified hotspots of vulnerable population likely being exposed to low precipitation and high temperature.

Sub-regional pathway

He noted that sub-regional initiatives such as the South Asia Heat Health Information Network and the Global Health Health Information Network, a joint venture of the World Health Organisation and the World Meteorological Organisation, are building blocks of a sub-regional pathway.

UN-ESCAP’s Risk and Resilience Portal, an initiative of Asia-Pacific Disaster Resilience Network, is also an effort to strengthen such sub-regional pathways for adaptation to heatwaves and a help build a resilient future for all.

Published on May 30, 2022
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