Updated Aug 3, 2018

The export economies that stand to lose most from climate change

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Adapted from Verisk Maplecroft; Chart: Axios Visuals

As the world's climate changes, heat waves may become difficult for people to tolerate in certain parts of the world — and this could have an impact on the global economy.

Why it matters: Economies that are heavily dependent on extractive industries — such as mining, oil and gas drilling, and agriculture — could find themselves at a disadvantage if particular climate change projections become a reality, according to a new report by the risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft.

Although the report has not been peer reviewed in a scientific journal, its conclusions are supported by other scientific studies warning of intolerable heat waves that could be life-threatening for outdoor workers.

  • In particular, thresholds for dangerous heat waves could be crossed sooner in tropical countries than in higher latitudes

The details: According to the new analysis, heat stress could cause economic disruptions in both the developing and developed world by putting exports at risk.

The area with the greatest share of exports at risk is West Africa, particularly Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire, which depend on extractive industries (Nigeria) and agricultural exports (Cote d’Ivoire).

"Heat stress will reduce worker productivity; it will hit commercial performance; and some supply chains will become less stable as a result. Reduced export revenues also mean less money available to governments to spend on combatting the worst impacts of rising heat," Alice Newman, an environment and climate change analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, told Axios in an email.

  • The report relies on observed and projected daily temperatures from Verisk's heat stress indices — air temperature plus humidity levels — for the period from 1980 to 2045, as well as data on export economies.

"Heat stress can reduce worker productivity by causing dehydration and fatigue, leading to slower work and, in extreme instances, death," the report states.

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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The World Bank cut its global growth forecast for the fourth straight time on Wednesday, reducing expectations by 0.2 percentage points each year for 2019, 2020 and 2021.

"Global economic growth is forecast to edge up to 2.5% in 2020 as investment and trade gradually recover from last year’s significant weakness but downward risks persist. ... U.S. growth is forecast to slow to 1.8% this year, reflecting the negative impact of earlier tariff increases and elevated uncertainty."
— World Bank statement on its Global Economic Prospects report
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Australia heat wave: Hottest temperature record broken again

People queue for ice cream at Sydney's Bondi Beach on Thursday: Photo Saverio Marfia/Getty Images

Australia smashed its hottest day record just one day after it was set, preliminary findings from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) released Thursday show.

The big picture: The country has also experienced its worst ever spring for wildfire danger, the BOM said in a climate statement Wednesday.

  • The driest spring on record has left more than 95% of Australia experiencing dangerous fire weather that has been above average, and much of the country is in severe drought.
  • The historic heat wave comes as firefighters continue to fight wildfires across the country. The Australian state of New South Wales declared a seven-day state of emergency Thursday.

What they're saying: Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist with the BOM, said in a video posted to the agency's website that many areas would shatter hottest December records and perhaps even the hottest temperature for any time of the year, with Saturday forecast to be a particularly searing day.

Read the climate report:

Go deeper: In photos: Wildfires rage across Australia amid historic heat wave

Editor's note: This article has been updated to include the new temperature record details.

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Hottest decade on record

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

2019 wasn't just the second-hottest year on record — the 2010s will go down as the hottest decade in human memory, per a new report.

Driving the news: The Copernicus Climate Change Service found "an unrelenting upward trend in temperatures as emissions of greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere and change the climate," the N.Y. Times notes.

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