Rising heat stress could cost Israel 9,000 jobs by 2030 - U.N.

The UN predicts 80 million jobs will be lost worldwide.

July 2, 2019 12:29
2 minute read.
A girl stands next to bales of hay at the annual harvest festival in Kibbutz Degania Alef, northern

A girl stands next to bales of hay at the annual harvest festival in Kibbutz Degania Alef, northern Israel. (photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

 LONDON- Rising heat due to climate change could lead to the loss of 9,000 jobs in Israel, the United Nations said on Monday, as Europe sweltered in record temperatures.

Worldwide the UN predicts 80 million jobs will be lost by 2030. 

A temperature rise of 1.5°C by the end of century could lead to a 2.2% drop in working hours – equal to 80 million full-time jobs –costing the global economy $2.4 trillion, according to projections by the U.N. International Labour Organization (ILO).

The ILO said that people would be unable to work due to the health risks posed by higher temperatures.

“The impact of heat stress on labor productivity is a serious consequence of climate change, which adds to other adverse impacts such as changing rain patterns, raising sea levels and loss of biodiversity,” said ILO’s Catherine Saget.

The World Health Organization has said that heat stress linked to climate change is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050.

Heat stress occurs when the body absorbs more heat than is tolerable. Extreme heat can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and exhaustion, increase mortality and exacerbate existing health conditions.

Agricultural workers – especially women, who make up the bulk of the 940 million laborers in the sector – will be most affected, the ILO said, accounting for about 60% of all working hours lost due to heat stress by 2030.

If global temperatures rise as predicted, the construction industry will account for about 19% of lost working hours, with the poorest countries in Southeast Asia and West Africa being the worst hit, the ILO added.

Transportation, tourism, sport and industrial sectors are among those that will also be affected by rising heat, the ILO said.

“In addition to the massive economic costs of heat stress, we can expect to see more inequality between low- and high-income countries and worsening working conditions for the most vulnerable, as well as displacement of people,” Saget said.

In 2015, countries signing the Paris Agreement set a goal of limiting the rise in average world surface temperatures to “well below” 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial times, while “pursuing efforts” to limit rising temperatures to 1.5°C (2.7°F).

Temperatures have already risen about one degree Celsius since pre-industrial times. Scientists say further increases risk triggering tipping points that could make parts of the world uninhabitable, devastate farming and drown coastal cities.

The World Meteorological Organization said last week that 2019 was on track to be among the hottest years on record, which would make 2015-2019 the hottest five-year period.

Europe has been in the grip of record-breaking heatwaves, with wildfires burning tracts of land in France and Spain over the weekend, and scorching temperatures across the continent killing at least seven people.

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