Peter Bosch (Netherlands) 1; Andreas Flouris (Greece) 2; Konstantina Poulianiti (Greece) 2
1 - TNO; 2 - FAME Laboratory Department of Exercise Science, University of Thessaly
One of the overlooked impacts of climate change is the negative impact of increased heat stress on the health and productivity of workers in strategic European industries, such as agriculture, construction, transportation, manufacturing and tourism. Heat stress relies on environmental elements (temperature, humidity, wind and radiation) and human physiological factors. In the Horizon2020 project Heatshield, data on workers’ performance under hot conditions are gathered in field studies and laboratory experiments. These data are used in a calculation model to estimate the projected production losses in Europe due to climate change in 2050. Climate scenario data have been transformed in WBGT (web bulb globe temperatures) per region per day, to establish the connection with human performance information.
The original grid based data have been transposed to NUTS2 level, to enable comparison with economic data. NUTS is the regional classification of Europe for statistical purposes. Economic statistics on employment and value added have also been gathered and processed to NUTS2 level. Calculations have been executed at the level of industry classes (NACE 2 digits) for the five economic sectors mentioned above. The results show that specifically Southern Europe and parts of Central Europe will experience substantially more and extended periods of high heat stress. This is projected to lead to production losses up to (preliminary figures!) 4-5% GDP in Southern European regions. In exposed regions the construction sector might see 3-9% of its value added lost due to heat, if no adaptation measures are taken. In percentages that does not seem much, but for instance for Andalusia it means a loss of more than 1 billion Euro per year.