February 25 News: Climate Change Has Cut Humans’ Work Capacity 10 Percent, With 40 Percent Cut Projected For 2100

According to researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a combination of rising heat and humidity is likely to cut the world’s labor capacity to 80 percent during summer months by 2050 — twice the effect observed today. [Climate Central]

That one-two punch has already cut the world’s working capacity by 10 percent since humans began burning large amounts of oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels at the start of the Industrial Revolution, found the analysis, which was published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change….

“The planet will start experiencing heat stress unlike anything experienced today,” said study co-author Ron Stouffer, a climate modeler at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. “The world is entering a very different environment, and the impact of that on labor will be significant.”

Those calculations don’t take into effect the relief offered by air conditioning. They do assume people will take other measures to beat the heat — working or exercising in early morning, early evening or even nighttime, seeking shade and wearing clothing that helps maximize their ability to stay cool.

Opening statements are set to begin Monday in the maritime trial of the century, as British oil giant BP defends itself against billions of dollars in damages sought by the U.S. government and states affected by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill disaster. [Fuel Fix]

The sequester would likely cut $100 million from the Environmental Protection Agency’s air program, and another $64.5 million from its enforcement budget. 20 percent of those cuts would be to funds for state and local governments to monitor air pollution levels, administer permits for industrial facilities, and other key aspects. [ALA]

A study by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, outlining the damage climate change will do to the state, has been kept secret by agency officials for more than a year. [The State]

Some of the West’s biggest reservoirs could dry up completely as the region gets warmer and drier in coming decades, according to a new study. [Summit County Voice]

Two-thirds of California voters believe global warming is a threat and measures need to be taken to stop it, but the level of concern has dropped significantly over the past six years. [SFGate]

Economic crisis has bought time to tackle unreliable and costly European power, but raised the risk no one will spend the 1 trillion euro ($1.3 trillion) needed to improve the supply network, a new report has found. [Reuters]

Apples produced in the Himalayan state of Arunachal Pradesh are now gradually losing their taste and even turning sour as a result of climate change. [ZeeNews]

Showa Shell has predicted its solar unit Solar Frontier will be able to cut production costs of its solar modules by half in the next few years. [Renew Economy]

22 Responses to February 25 News: Climate Change Has Cut Humans’ Work Capacity 10 Percent, With 40 Percent Cut Projected For 2100

  1. Camburn says:

    This article makes the common mistake of using climate models as predictors of climate.

    That is not what they are used for.

    TAR and AR4 sim-
    ulations have no predictive skill whatsoever on the
    chronology of events beyond the annual cycle. A cli-
    is thus not a prediction of climate,
    it is an experiment probing the model’s response to
    change in GHG concentrations

  2. Joe Romm says:

    What does this comment even mean? The temp projections used in this study low-ball future warming.

  3. Camburn says:

    Mr. Romm:
    Current Climate Model Projections are based on increased CO2. The variability inherent in climate is not modeled well as it is not well understood at this time.

    The WG part of the IPCC is very good at explaining this. The policy statements do not reflect this well.

    I wish this was more accurately portrayed as the squabbles that result distract from the science, which is quite good.

  4. Superman1 says:

    The climate models are now projecting 5-6 C by century’s end, and they do not include the major positive feedback mechanisms, which will boost the temperatures by unpredictable amounts. Couple that with the view of Mark Lynas and others of life at 5-6 C, and the work capacity will be decreased by 100% by 2100. We ain’t gonna be here!

  5. Paul Magnus says:

    Australia needs coal generated power for decades to come

    TONY EASTLEY: It’s news that will please some and horrify others. Coal generated power will need to be a significant part of Australia’s power generation mix for at least another 20 years, according to findings from a new study by the University of Queensland.

  6. David F Collins says:

    I did a semester at the Universidad de Puerto Rico — Mayagüez in the 1950’s. When signing up for classes (fall term), I was amazed at how fast the early morning (7AM!) classes filled up! So I did like the Tarzans & Janes (as the students are called there), and was glad I did: mid-day on that campus, on the west end of the island and far from the reach of the trade winds, was beastly hot & humid until November or thereabouts.

    Back at the University of Michigan, during a summer-long heat wave, my roommate and I took to hitting the sack in mid-afternoon: it was too hot to study. The phone started to ring in serious at around 11PM: friends & classmates calling to ask about how we were doing in the homework assignments. By then the heat was less oppressive, so we got started and studied until class time, 8AM for our first classes.

    It was disastrous to our pursuit of activities involving the awesomely lovely young ladies on the campus, but we did very well academically.

  7. Paul Magnus says:

    Proof that we just dont do risk assessment without bais…. and big money trumps common sense.

    “Few are more critical than California’s San Onofre Units Two and Three, perched on an ocean cliff in the earthquake-tsunami zone between Los Angeles and San Diego. ”

  8. Paul Magnus says:

    So ‘we’ want to do something about carbon emissions….

    “Even though it was supported by high-profile Australian celebrities, with Cate Blanchett and Michael Caton appearing in ads, and public rallies in major cities, community support for the carbon price actually fell, declining from 46% support to 37%. Opposition to the carbon price also rose from 44% to 56%.”

  9. timg56 says:


    What this means is that any study which is based on a model projection needs to be taken with a large grain of salt. For the study to be valid, the outcome projected by the model has to occur.

    As for the models under predicting (or projecting) temperatures, that is an argument being put forth by some. Certaintly not a proven fact or even a widely held opinion. If anything, the opinion that sensitivity may be lower than shown by the models is the one gaining momentum.

  10. timg56 says:

    I get the impression the authors of the study have never actually worked outdoors that much. There are a number of measures you can take to deal with high temperatures. These include cold vests, hydration stations, misters and cooling tents.

  11. Joe Romm says:

    Any projection should be seen as such, but the temperature rise they are predicting for 2200 is actually just about what the business as usual forecast for 2100 is!

    There is ZERO momentum being gained by a meaningfully lower sensitivity — and plenty of recent studies that suggest the ACTUAL warming in 2100 will be well above 3C.

  12. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I haven’t read the study but it wouldn’t take that long if we stopped propping up the FF industries and used those $ for a crash program putting PVs on every available space and building thermal solars for back up, ME

  13. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Most well established cultures in hot countries have adjusted their days to suit the climate, e.g. the siesta, ME

  14. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Yes its ‘news’ that will please those who care more for money than the survival of their own children, and rightly horrify those whose worldview is the opposite. It has been quite interesting that, despite a cavalcade of climate disasters and weather records broken over recent years and months, no-one dares mention climate destabilisation. The MSM are nothing if not well trained.

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    True, but the carbon price was opposed by the MSM, with the Murdoch infestation, as ever, truly deranged and hysterical in their fear and hatemongering.

  16. David B. Benson says:

    Just hype. That writer is a know-nothing.

  17. Merrelyn Emery says:

    The ‘say yes’ campaign was always a dead duck as many Aussies see celebrities as tall poppies to be cut down rather than sources of inspiration. More important is the question of whether Abbott can untangle the fiendishly complex set of legislation and international agreements that now comprise the workings of the carbon price, IF he wins in September, ME

  18. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Here goes a bit more coastline. Cyclone Rusty is predicted to cross the WA coast at Port Hedland with wind up to 195 kph, now at 120kph. At this rate Oz is going to be a very small island very soon, ME

  19. prokaryotes says:

    “world’s working capacity by 10 percent since humans began burning large amounts of oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels at the start of the Industrial Revolution”

    Settlements begun within an entire different setup and with accelerated anthroclimate many of the old habitable zones will vanish. There are more stress multipliers which affect reduced work capacities, like the impacts from SLR. The impact of SLR (which will take abrupt turns in form of sudden historical floods) means another burdan for a society not even yet acknowledging and in large part in an apathetic state what is heading at them.

    These stressors on individual level increasing already on much lesser level – considerable the psychic well being of people. Most people will further react to these “unknown stressors” with reinforcing the apathetic state. The swarm is prone to these developments, an evolutionary mechanism which causes a lemming like behavior.

    All this will contribute to a collapsing state – chaotic forms, on all levels. Reduced work capacity is just the start of more visible impact on society.

  20. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Mad dogs an Australians go out in the midday sun..

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    He and his state mates (currently sabotaging public health and education in truly malevolent fashion, while attacking every environmental protection) will give it a good go, urged on by the dead souls of ‘the business community’ and the Murdoch abomination.