Sunday, May 16, 2021

Climate change affecting Morupule B work schedule

As if its jinx was not enough, Morupule B has had its work schedule varied by some contractors to deal with climate change-occasioned temperatures.

While its role at the plant has been drastically reduced, the China National Electric Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) is still doing some work there. However, this work is done outside official working hours because CNEEC workers, who come from a much cooler country, can’t bear the relentless searing heat. The result is that at 11 in the morning they take a three-hour break, go back to their camp and take a nap after having early lunch. They compensate for the lost time in the afternoon.

At this point, it is just the Chinese who have altered official working hours but in the future, it may be everybody else in the country as temperatures continue to soar. Research done in the United States shows that humidity is already reducing people’s working capacity by 10 percent during peak months of heat stress around the world and is likely to grow to 20 percent by 2050.

The international climate change conference that was held in Paris for the past two weeks sought to limit the global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. In the worst case scenario considered by the model of the said research, safe labour would be impossible during peak heat stress months by 2200. Botswana intends to achieve an overall emissions reduction of 15 percent by 2030, taking 2010 as the base year. However, the research says that even if the global community commits to active mitigation of carbon-dioxide, there will be increasing environmental limitations on labour capacity in the coming decades.

Another study suggests that each 1ÔùªC increase in average temperatures in any given year tends to reduce economic output by 1.1 percent and that economies in countries that are heavily dependent on natural resources (particularly agriculture) will be the hardest hit. Workers in these countries are directly susceptible to direct effects of higher temperatures and changes in precipitation.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended that governments should reconfigure their official working hours to mitigate climate-change challenges that adversely affect labour productivity. That would be something similar to what CNEEC is doing at Morupule B.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper