According to a study, India lost roughly 259 billion hours of labour yearly between 2001 and 2020 as a result of rising heat and humidity caused by global warming. According to the report by Duke University, the loss of labour hours due to humid heat cost India Rs 46 lakh crore ($624 billion), or about 7% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017.
Humid Heat Affecting the Labour Productivity in India
Duke University researchers have coined the phrase ‘humid heat,’ which refers to the typical weather conditions in India, which are either hot and humid or hot and dry and have an impact on labour productivity.
According to a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, the loss of labour hours in the first 20 years of this century was 25 billion more hours per year than in the preceding 20 years. It has revealed that humid heat has caused 677 billion hours of labour loss each year, totalling Rs 156 lakh crore ($2.1 trillion) globally.
The Case for going Net-Zero
India is the third-largest contributor to global emissions, thus contributing heavily to global warming. Earlier, a report revealed that India is the second most affected country because of the global warming and natural disasters caused by it. This combined with the above data derived from the study conducted by Duke University makes the case for the need to go net-zero.
India needs to Spend 11 per cent of GDP to Meet Net Zero Goals
According to the consulting firm McKinsey, India may need to invest roughly 11% of GDP over the next three decades to achieve the global objective of net-zero emissions by 2050, compared to the global average of about 7.5 per cent of GDP.
According to McKinsey, these larger investments will be accompanied by stages of higher electricity costs, a change in investment to low-fossil-emission technology, and job creation. These changes will be noticed across regions and industries, but they will be felt disproportionately in power and certain industries like cement and steel.
The global move to net-zero may also result in stranded assets, which means that existing physical assets are either underutilised or shut down before their utility expires. According to McKinsey, $2.1 trillion in assets could be stranded in the power sector by 2050. Eighty per cent of this would be relatively new fossil fuel-based power plants already in operation, notably coal-fired units in nations like China and India.
In addition to this, the study has also revealed that India will be among the countries with the highest levels of transition exposure, because it has a smaller GDP per capita and a higher concentration of jobs, GDP, and capital stock in sectors with emissions-intensive operations, products, and supply chains.