One of the biggest problem in 21st century is global warming.Most of the hottest years on record have occurred during the past two decades. In Europe, the heat wave in the summer of 2003 resulted in over 30,000 deaths. In India, temperatures reached 48.1 degrees Centigrade — nearly 119 degrees Fahrenheit.
Two years later, the ferocity of Hurricane Katrina in the United States was attributed in large part to the elevated water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. And in one of many terrain changing developments, 160 square miles of territory broke away from the Antarctic coast in 2008 — its bindings to Antarctica having literally melted away.
Global warming will cost the world economy more than £1.5 trillion a year in lost productivity by 2030 as it becomes too hot to work in many jobs, according to a major new report.
In just 14 years’ time in India, where some jobs are already shared by two people to allow regular breaks from the heat, the bill will be £340bn a year.China is predicted to experience similar losses, while other countries among the worst affected include Indonesia (£188bn), Malaysia (£188bn) and Thailand (£113bn).The figures were published in a research paper launched at a forum on how to reduce the risks of severe weather events held in Kuala Lumpur by the United Nations University and UN Development Programme.
Other papers highlighted the risk of increasingly heavy rain helping to spread diseases by expanding insect-breeding sites, driving rodents from their burrows and contaminating freshwater supplies; a decline in air quality caused by fires and dust storms; and more floods, mudslides, drought and high winds.Dr Tord Kjellstrom, author of the paper on the effect of ‘heat stress’ on the economy, told The Independent: “The effect of heat on people’s daily lives and particular on their work has not been given enough attention.
If you are physically active in work, the hotter it is, the slower you work. Your body adapts to the heat and in doing that it protects you from the heat.For individual countries, even within a short timespan, the losses due to the increasing heat can be in the many billions.
Dr Kjellstrom, of the Health and Environment International Trust in New Zealand, said the increases in temperature until about 2050 were already inevitable.However he said reducing emissions now could still have a significant impact after that date.Beyond 2050, it will make a big difference if we take action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally.
However he said some countries appeared to be planning simply to cope with the coming changes, rather than try to prevent them.A lot of countries have focussed in the last few years on adaptation with the impression that we can find methods to adjust to the future changes in climate … and protect people and protect our societies.I think personally that the need for mitigation, which means to reduce climate change, has not been given enough focus.It’s quite urgent because the action needs to be taken now, not 40 years from now.