Pakistan Loses $16 Billion in 2022 Due to High Heat Exposure, Lancet Report Reveals
Islamabad: In a startling revelation, a report from The Lancet Countdown exposes the severe economic toll on Pakistan, estimating a staggering $16 billion in lost income for 2022 due to high heat exposure. The study indicates that approximately 26 billion potential labor hours were lost, equivalent to 4.4% of the country’s gross domestic product.
Released as part of a major annual assessment by over 200 researchers globally, the report highlights Pakistan’s frontline status in facing the impacts of climate change. With 2023 predicted to be the hottest year on record, the Lancet assessment warns of a potential fivefold increase in heat-related deaths in the years to come.
The findings underscore the vulnerability of the population to life-threatening extreme heat, transforming certain areas in Pakistan into some of the hottest spots on Earth. This has led to a surge in heat-related illnesses and mortality, impacting labor productivity and undermining livelihoods.
Outdoor workers, particularly those in agriculture, have borne the brunt of the crisis, experiencing a 67% reduction in potential labor hours and a 56% decline in potential income in 2022.
The Lancet report also emphasizes the broader impact on Pakistan’s health system, with heightened frequency and intensity of droughts and floods compromising food and water security, as well as impacting sanitation. Unpredictable weather patterns affecting crop yields have increased the risk of malnutrition and infectious diseases.
Air pollution, particularly in areas like Lahore, further compounds health challenges, prompting the urgent need to transition to zero-emission clean energy sources.
In a global context, despite increasing calls for action, the report and the United Nations reveal that energy-related carbon emissions reached record highs in the past year. Current emission reduction pledges fall far short of the 43% required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The World Meteorological Organization’s Global Greenhouse Gas Bulletin warns that the current trajectory could result in more extreme weather, higher sea levels, and a temperature increase surpassing the targets set by the Paris Agreement.
This breaking news underscores the urgent need for comprehensive measures to address the health impacts of rising temperatures, emphasizing the critical role of global collaboration in mitigating climate change and safeguarding the well-being of populations worldwide. Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.