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Climate Change and its Impact on Global Jobs, and the Economy: Which Sectors Will Be Hit?

Updated : February 26th, 2020

Climate Change and Jobs

In recent times, climate change has been viewed in terms of global warming, occurring due to the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the air. This phenomenon will also have a deep impact on society at a micro level, which could completely alter our way of living. It can already be seen as many landscapes are undergoing drastic changes. Climate change and job losses will have an inevitable impact on the job market on the whole.

The impacts of climate change and jobs can be seen when we consider the rising incidence of extreme weather events. They displace workers, damage business assets and disrupt transportation and rural infrastructure. 

These effects cost the country’s economy dearly in terms of the losses of life, money, and productivity. For instance, the recent California wildfires burned 259,823 acres of land and were spread across 105,147 hectares in total.    

The International Labor Organisation released a report recently which states that:

  • Heat will cut down two percent of working hours worldwide
  • 43 million jobs will be lost globally due to rising temperatures  
  • Billions of dollars will be lost by 2030 globally due to climate change

Among the economic sectors worst affected will be the wine industry, tourism sector, agricultural sector, the fishing sector, food & beverage sector, and the energy sector among others. 

Climate Change and Its Impact on the Agriculture Sector

Climate change will be a major deterrent in the agricultural sector. Things like heat waves are going to occur frequently and this, in turn, has a huge impact on crops. While a lot of regions will suffer from extreme droughts many regions will face issues like flooding or drought. All this will have a huge impact on agricultural land and in turn damage crops.  

Globally the agricultural sector will face the heat, here are some interesting stats on how the sector will face pressure due to climate change:

  • 60 percent of global working hours will be lost due to heat stress by 2030
  • Since 2016, 11,379 farmers committed suicide in India alone

A report by the International Labor Organization states that people working in the agricultural sector will be one of the most affected due to climate change. The report further elaborates that poorer countries will be more affected due to rising temperatures as compared to wealthier nations.

How Climate Change is Affecting Tourism 

Tourism is heavily reliant on the climate. But climate change is causing snow-capped mountains to melt, due to this fewer and fewer tourists want to visit hotels in these destinations. A lot of other things like warmer countries becoming warmer, and colder countries becoming colder are forcing tourists not to go on vacation. Here’s a look at how the tourism industry is going to take a hit.

  • Snowsports will take a hit of 20 billion dollars in the U.S, which will impact hotels in the surrounding areas
  • Due to rising sea levels, a lot of beaches are getting submerged. This will impact all the employees who work in the hospitality industry around these beaches
  • With snowcaps melting a lot of skiing destinations will no longer be available causing skiing instructors to lose their jobs 

Tourism is going to be badly affected due to climate change. As people lose their jobs, they no longer have the disposable income which sustained the rise of this industry in the recent past.

How Climate Change affects The Fishing Industry

Every year more than 49 million American’s fish on American waters. But due to climate change, the water is becoming warmer in streams, rivers, and lakes which in turn is changing the habitat and behavior of fish. 

With ocean temperatures rising and an increase in acidity, it is becoming extremely difficult for marine organisms to survive. Due to this, there will be a huge impact on the fishing industry especially for those who work in this sector. Here are a few pointers that show how climate change and job losses is affecting this industry:

  • The coastline of New England has lost an average of 16 percent fishing jobs due to climate change from 1996 to 2017
  • By 2050, global fisheries could lose anywhere between $17 to $41
  • Global fisheries will face losses of an estimated $1.979 trillion dollars by 2100

An increase in sea temperatures and current flow will affect marine life and may even make some species extinct. This will impact the economy and jobs in the near future.

The Impact of Climate Change on the Food and Beverage Industry

Climate change has caused a huge water shortage globally. This impacts the food and beverage industry directly. In several sub-continental countries, the monsoons are 85 percent below average.

Global sugar prices have touched a 28- year high, mainly due to lower production in countries like India and Brazil. Experts predict climate change droughts are going to take place more frequently than ever. Several large companies have taken a hit because of the change in climate:

  • Fresh Del Monte lost 2.5 million dollars due to the drought in brazil in 2016
  • Coca-Cola and Pepsi lost more than 1 million retailers in Tamil Nadu, India due to the drought in 2017

Experts in climate change predict that in the near future droughts are going to be more prevalent than ever. This is a cause for concern for leading food and beverage companies globally as water is very important for the production of food and beverages. 

Effects of Climate Change on The Wine Industry

Climate is one of the two most important factors that control the grape harvest. It also affects soil quality. The soil-climate equilibrium should be maintained for producing good wine.

Producing wine is becoming increasingly difficult due to severe changes in the climate. 

The rising temperatures make it incredibly difficult to maintain this balance, thus negatively affecting wine quality and production. Here are a couple of points to define how climate change is affecting the wine industry.

  1. The wine industry loses more than ten billion US dollars annually. This is due to damaged assets and production losses
  2. Due to this wine tariffs are increasing and wine sales are down by 2%, which has resulted in a loss of 17,000 jobs alone according to a report by Reuters

It should be noted that temperature plays an important role in the production of wine. But due to climate change, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain that optimal temperature. To deal with this, the wine industry is slowing getting automated and moving indoors. Manual labor is slowly becoming redundant for the production of wine resulting in job losses.  

Climate Change and How It’s impacting the Energy Sector

Energy companies are accused of causing climate change, but they are also adversely affected due to climate change. One of the top experts in the field stated that “If you’re a petrochemical company in the Gulf Coast, you are worried about hurricanes. If you’re in California, you’re worried about droughts and water access to your operations. If you’re a mining company, and you have operations in the Arctic, you’re going to worry about permafrost melting.”  

To further elaborate climate change and job losses has really hit the energy industry in a big way. Leaving energy companies confused about how to tackle this ever-increasing problem Here are a few statistics to back this statement:

  • The mining sector saw a drop from over 150,000 jobs in the 1980s to 53,000 jobs in July 2018 according to a report by High Country News

Whether or not energy industries are ready to fight climate change is yet to be seen. But the numbers above definitely paint a grim picture.

 Is The World Doing Enough To Tackle Climate Change?

No, the world is not doing enough to tackle climate change. Governments of thriving nations need to come together and discuss how to reduce climate change and job losses and their impacts on the world. The world needs to be better prepared because if we don’t take this problem seriously it could really affect our lives in ways we cannot imagine. 

If you are laid off due to climate change you are eligible for unemployment benefits in your state which you should claim right away.

 

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