Temperature rise due to climate change has negatively affected labour productivity in the past decades and will keep damaging it, potentially at a higher extent than what has been estimated in the literature up to now.


In South Africa, a future scenario with severe climate change will feature a reduction of per capita GDP of up to 20% by the end of the century, compared to an idealized future without the impacts of a changing climate.

This is what emerges from the study “Climate change and development in South Africa: the impact of rising temperatures on economic productivity and labour availability”, coordinated by the CMCC Foundation and RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE) and conducted in collaboration with the Athens University of Economics and Business, recently published in the Journal ‘Climate and Development’.

In the first phase of the research, through the analysis of empirical data, researchers analysed how temperature change driven by climate change has affected the productivity of the labour in South Africa in the past. They used a longitudinal survey of South African households conducted between 2008 and 2015 to obtain key information about the relationship between weekly maximum temperatures and working hours in the same week.

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