Climate Change to Make the World Lazier, Study Finds


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Climate change is causing weather patterns to grow more severe, sure, and sea levels are rising. Such consequences of global climate change are well known--but here's an effect of climate change that few consider: it will make workers around the world lazier. Well, 'lazier' isn't the right word, but a new study finds that global warming will cause workers everywhere from Delhi to Vietnam to be less productive--by a staggering 30% in some cases. So how is climate change going to make workers around the world lazy?Well, it's unlikely to have much immediate effect on your performance in the workplace if you're, say, a reclusive blogger glued to his computer screen in some dank basement. But if you have a job that's already gruelingly hard work done outdoors--a tea picker in India, or a coffee harvester in Vietnam, or a farmer in Mexico--especially if you live in the tropics, rising temperatures are going to make your work day a lot tougher.

According to an Oxfam study detailed by Bloomberg, "Temperatures that surpass 35 degrees Celsius, or 95 degrees Fahrenheit, stress manual laborers, affect productivity and ultimately their income." The impact will be especially powerful if temperatures rise more than 10 degrees Celsius--and temperatures are rising fastest in tropical regions.

Which is why outdoor workers around Delhi may become 30% less productive over the coming years, as the study projects. This will have a devastating effect on the region's fragile, developing economy, and on social conditions there. So global warming's not really going to make anyone lazier per se; it's going to make it unnaturally difficult to get any work done outside--though some (climate deniers, *cough cough*) will inevitably chalk the declining productivity up to some collective lack of a will to work, I wonder how many people would last 8 hours harvesting crops by hand in 100 degree heat.

But making people less productive is the less immediately frightening statistic produced by the study. According to Bloomberg:

Mortality rates in Delhi rise by as much as 4 percent, and 6 percent in Bangkok, with every 1 degree boost in temperature, according to Oxfam, a U.K.-based anti-poverty group. The 2003 summer heatwave in Europe resulted in 35,000 deaths, many of them in France, after temperatures rose 5 degrees above normal.
So people across the world will be forced to be less productive by unbearable temperatures, see their income decline, and die of heat exhaustion in greater numbers. Add yet another ill effect to add to the ever-growing list of travesties caused by climate change--and yet another reason to work towards fighting it.

More on Climate Change Effects
California Prepares for Rising Sea Levels
Reporting the Obvious: Climate Change Will Impact Transportation
Rising Seas and Powerful Storms Threaten Global Security : TreeHugger

Tags: Developing Nations | Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects | Poverty