EPA Predicts: Workers Will Lose $170B in Wages By 2100 Without Global Action on Climate Change

By Ali Meyer | June 30, 2015 | 11:57am EDT
(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has projected that by 2100, without global greenhouse gas mitigation, labor hours in the U.S. are projected to decrease, costing an estimated $170 billion in lost wages, according to a new EPA report.  

The EPA report, released on June 22, 2015, is titled “Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action,” and was created to estimate the physical and monetary benefits of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, otherwise referred to in the report as GHG mitigation.

“Without global GHG mitigation, labor hours in the U.S. are projected to decrease due to increases in extreme temperatures,” states the report. “Over 1.8 billion labor hours are projected to be lost in 2100, costing an estimated $170 billion in lost wages.”

The EPA claims that labor hours are lost when the “extreme summer heat” causes workers to take more breaks, get ill, or stop working altogether.

“Extreme summer heat is increasing in the U.S. and will be more frequent and intense in the future,” states the EPA. “Heat exposure can affect workers’ health, safety and productivity. When exposed to high temperatures, workers are at risk for heat-related illnesses and therefore may take more frequent breaks, or have to stop work entirely, resulting in lower overall labor capacity.

“This is especially true for high-risk industries where workers are doing physical labor and have a direct exposure to outdoor temperatures (e.g., agriculture, construction, utilities, and manufacturing),” according to the EPA.

“The majority of the country is projected to experience decreases in labor hours due to extreme temperature effects,” states EPA. “In 2100, parts of the Southwest and Florida are estimated to experience a decrease in hours worked for high-risk industries ranging from -5% to -7%. Although the impacts vary by region, only a limited number of counties are projected to experience increases in labor hours.”

The EPA claims that if we act on global climate change, and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, labor hours can be saved.

“Global GHG mitigation is estimated to save 1.2 billion labor hours and $110 billion in wages in 2100 in the contiguous U.S. that would otherwise be lost due to unmitigated climate change,” states the report.


“Climate change poses significant risks to humans and the environment” the EPA stated. “The report shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy.”



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