Climate Change and Job Losses: How will climate affect jobs?

The International Labor Organization said that 80 million jobs would be at risk if predictions of rising temperatures, caused by climate change, materialize, and productivity is affected by challenging work environments.

Environmental issues are high on the global agenda and that is why the manufacturing industry is looking to transition to a more environmentally sustainable approach where it addresses a variety of challenges including processes.

How will climate affect jobs?

According to data from the International Labour Organization, 80 million jobs would be at risk if predictions of rising temperatures, caused by climate change.

In this sense, environmental issues are high on the global agenda and it is for this reason that the manufacturing industry seeks to transition to a more environmentally sustainable approach where it addresses a variety of challenges that include processes, people and products.

The main reasons that drive companies to carry out sustainable initiatives are regulatory compliance as the main reason for 18% of respondents, the business risk for 15%; and financial incentives and tax reductions for 15%.

As this latest IFS study points out, the areas that have been prioritized by manufacturers to date include water and waste treatment, for 43% of companies, and monitoring of carbon emissions in 40% of entities.

Likewise, although manufacturing companies are taking steps toward more efficient systems, the most important barriers to investment in sustainability are, on the one hand, the decentralized management of corporate responsibility among 21% of managers; on the other hand, the assets and infrastructures inherited for 18%, finally, the cost that it supposes for 17%.

On the other hand, the circular economy is becoming more important among manufacturers, with 12% of respondents including it as an already implemented corporate approach and 80% in pilot processes. Traditional business models developed and used to succeed in the linear economy will not be viable in an economy with scarce natural resources and more costly environmental and social impacts.

The other data

According to estimates provided by the ILO, the sector that would be most affected by the change in climatic conditions would be agriculture. Of the total hours lost, 60% would correspond to this segment, which has 940 million employees worldwide. Followed would be the constructor, who would have a loss of 19%.

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“Other sectors, particularly at risk, are environmental goods and services, garbage collection, emergencies, repair work, transport, tourism and sports, as well as certain forms of industrial work,” the report says.

The impact of climate change can be observed and quantified in three key activities that are very representative of this reality. Agriculture, energy and tourism are three of the sectors where the repercussions of the global increase in temperatures are most observed, in one more than in the other two.

The entity says that it is vital to promote adequate infrastructure and the development of early warning systems “to deal with thermal phenomena, as well as the improvement of the application of international labour standards”.

Additionally, it requested the companies to provide drinking water as well as the adaptation of work schedules, the use of clothing and equipment, the use of new technologies and the holding of work breaks.

indirect effects

Climate change also has an indirect impact on the labour market, as we have already pointed out. Humanity faces the challenge of curbing the rise in global temperatures. This is only possible by sustainably reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. To this end, governments apply environmental public policies.

According to the different agreements established by the multilateral organizations, and signed by the signatory countries, world leaders must promote measures that allow moving towards net zero emissions by the end of the century.

Will jobs be lost? Surely. Workers in carbon-intensive industries, such as livestock farming or the fossil energy sector, will have to be taken over by other environmentally friendly industries and economic activities.

It is only a matter of the fact that the increase in global temperatures cannot be stopped in time, which seems to be happening already. We have to start a transformation in the labour market as soon as possible that allows us to protect both workers and the planet and its natural resources.

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