Irma Gomez has worked in California’s Central Valley, one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions, for nearly a decade — but she has never experienced a year as hot as this one, so hot that a colleague collapsed and died in the fields.
“It’s worrying,” Gomez says. “It could happen to any of us.”
Rising temperatures are increasingly threatening workers in the United States, endangering their health as well as their performance.
And that has major economic consequences for the entire country, according to two recent studies.
The United States already loses an estimated $100 billion annually due to heat-related dips in productivity, says a report by the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilience Center, a Washington DC-based think tank.
If no action is taken to curb global warming, losses will reach $200 billion by 2030 and $500 billion by 2050, the study says.