Culture 3 min read

CO2 Emissions Could Lead To Economic Losses Says New Study

A recent study revealed that CO2 emissions cause socioeconomic issues, like productivity loss, which affect vulnerable economic sectors.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

In a recent paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers described how CO2 emissions causes lost labor productivity.

Climate change affects the planet in several ways. As such, events like rising sea levels, hurricanes, drought, and forest fires are occurring more often across the world.

According to reports, wildfire costs nearly $5.1 billion in losses over the past ten years. Also, the sea level continues to rise at a rate of about one-eighth of an inch every year.

Yet, we seem to be releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.

The total carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry rose by 1.6 percent in 2017 to 36.2 gigatonnes of CO2. Last year, it was even closer to 40 billion metric tons.

Expectedly, this has led to studies on the various ways the greenhouse gas affects our lives.

The researchers at Concordia University decided to contribute to the growing body of knowledge. Damon Matthews and colleagues explored how extreme high temperatures from CO2 emissions could lead to losses in labor productivity.

Matthews, who is also a Concordia Research Chair in Climate Science and Sustainability in the Department of Geography, Planning, and Environment, said:

“We can see that every additional ton of CO2 emission that we produce will have this additional impact, and we can quantify that increase. So this study can help us point to specific countries that are experiencing a quantifiable share of the economic damages that result from the emissions we produce.”

How CO2 Emissions Causes Economic Losses

The researchers performed their calculations based on guidelines that were previously in use regarding rest time recommendations per hour of labor as well as heat exposure.

It turns out that every trillion tonnes of COs emitted could cause global GDP losses of roughly 0.5 percent. According to the team, our current emission rate may have already led to economic losses of a staggering 2 percent of global GDP.

Specific economic sectors such as mining, quarrying, and agriculture are the most vulnerable to heat exposure, says the Concordia team.

Sadly, these sectors happen to account for 73 percent of the output in low-income countries. That means low-income countries are more likely to experience the economic impact of CO2 emissions.

Some of the affected regions include northern South America, Southeast Asia, as well as north-central Africa.

The researchers wrote in their report:

“The labor productivity loss computed for low- and lower-middle-income countries is approximately nine times higher than the one of the high-income countries.”

The authors suggested that the affected countries could take measures to mitigate the loss of labor productivity. However, the permanent solution would be to rethink the overall consequence of relentlessly warming our planet.

Read More: Smartphone App Helps African Farmers Adapt to Climate Change

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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