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Although the report has not been peer reviewed in a scientific journal, its conclusions are supported by other scientific studies warning of intolerable heat waves that could be life-threatening for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

Go deeper:

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

2 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."

Democrats stiff Biden as poll numbers hit low point

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Democrats in swing states and vulnerable districts in this year's pivotal midterms are distancing themselves from President Biden on social media as his poll numbers hit their lowest point.

Why it matters: The digital distance is one sign of the concern candidates feel about a person they'd normally embrace. Incumbent presidents — including one who believes he needs to come to their hometowns to sell his message — would normally be political gold for candidates from the same party.