India is experiencing a heat wave that is extreme enough to affect the economy.
“We estimate output declines of between 4% and 9% per degree on days when wet bulb globe temperatures (WBGT) are above 27 degrees Celsius,” – E Somanathan, et al
In parts of India, temperatures are reaching 50 C. The biggest impact is on people who work outside: farmers, laborers, etc. The poor, the people least likely to have access to air conditioning, are the ones most affected. Cities, outside the buildings, can be worse because cities are heat islands, places where the temperature is typically 5C higher because of the buildings. Climate is affecting economies, and widening inequalities. When it gets hot, poorer people have little choice other than to try to work through it, though inefficiently, while office workers can maintain efficiency and income if the business is rich enough to afford air conditioning. The effect is not limited to India. As global temperatures increase and as urban islands grow, more people will suffer in terms of health and wealth.
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