Image: Unsplash/Ciprian Boiciuc

Just like you and me, the UK economy is feeling the heat

There is no doubt that the Britain has been experiencing a heatwave unforeseen since the unforgettable summer of 1976 – one of the most prolonged periods of extraordinary heat recorded in recent history. Temperature forecasts have seen regions such as the south-east of England reach a staggering 37 degrees.

Whilst some are enjoying the sweltering heat, what are its consequences on Britain’s economy?

Professor Michael Mann of Penn State University, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, has declared “we literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change”

Talking to The Guardian, he said: “The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle… We are seeing them play out in real time and what is happening this summer is a perfect example of that.”

Making 2018 the fourth hottest year on record since 1880 behind 2015, 2017 and 2016…

“We are seeing our predictions come true,” he said. “As a scientist that is reassuring, but as a citizen of planet Earth, it is very distressing to see that as it means we have not taken the necessary action.”

A recent BBC broadcast showed that when comparing temperatures in 2018 to the average temperature from January to June between 1910 and 2000, 2018 is 0.77 degrees above the average, making 2018 the fourth hottest year on record since 1880 behind 2015, 2017 and 2016.

As a result of these findings, Dr Chris Hope, author of the third and fourth assessment reports for the inter-governmental panel on climate change under Obama’s administration, which won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, has warned the emission of greenhouse gases may increase the average temperature of the UK by the end of this century by 4 degrees.

You reduce the tax on things you want to encourage such as employing people and put the taxes on things you want to discourage like emissions of greenhouse gases…

As a result, he has called for a “level playing field” and therefore “make sure we are charging people who are emitting greenhouse gases for the damage they are causing”, meaning the introduction of a “strong climate change tax”, compensating this payment with a decrease in tax on payments such as “income, sales and national insurance”.

In other words, “you reduce the tax on things you want to encourage such as employing people and put the taxes on things you want to discourage like emissions of greenhouse gases.”

“We can make the economy work better by doing that.”

How has this climate change effected the UK?

A fall in food supply is the simple answer.

The heatwave has induced the strongest grocery sales in the UK in the last five years. In the 4 weeks leading up to 14th July – following the hottest June in 40 years – shoppers spent 4.5 per cent more on groceries.

Despite this, there has seen shortages in food supply resulting from a lack of rain and added heat. The yield of peas produced domestically in the UK has become 20 to 30 per cent below normal levels.

Ian Keyes, director of Yorkshire-based Swaythorpe Growers noted: “Each pea plant is currently yielding between three and four pods – rather than the six to seven usually seen. It’s a combination of drought and heat, and peas are not standing up to that very well.”

“Spain and Portugal had a poor harvest, while Hungary’s was poor and Poland’s a complete write-off. Those normal sources of extra supply are simply not there. There will inevitably be some price increase.”

Furthermore, Dieter Lloyd, from the British Leafy Salad Growers Association (BLSGA) has pointed out a similar fall in production of lettuce, onions, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

What are the impacts of increased temperature on workers?

Helia Costa, former research officer at the Grantham Institute of Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, noted that “Increasingly hot summers can have devastating effects on worker productivity.”

“As temperatures increase, workers feel decreased energy, loss of concentration, muscle cramps, heat rash, and in extreme cases heat exhaustion or heatstroke.”

More than 22,000 people have been taken to hospital with heatstroke, nearly half of them being elders…

Recently, the Japanese government has declared it’s summertime weather as a “natural disaster”.

More than 22,000 people have been taken to hospital with heatstroke, nearly half of them being elders. Last Monday, the city of Kumagaya reported a temperature of 41.1 degrees Celsius – not far from what Britons have experienced.

As an effect, it is important to stay indoors as much as possible, only going out if need be. Make sure to drink plenty of water, stay in the shade and apply sun-cream on a regular basis. The heat isn’t going to last for ever though, and UK will soon return to its mild and slightly damp norm.

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