How Climate Change Will Soon Cost You Work

This month, the United Nations released a frankly terrifying report on global warning. Humanity basically has 12 years to get its act together before the entire planet tips past the point of no return. While governments can mandate regulations and changes, industry has to get on board too. There's a profit incentive, after all: Climate change is going to make workers worldwide less productive.

That will certainly be true if major coastal cities flood or mega-storms take out entire regions, but there are simpler reasons to worry. Scientists at China's Institute of Atmospheric Physics have just released data looking at heat stress, and how warming temperatures will impede societies in both the developed and the developing world. You know how your brain just shuts down under certain conditions during the summer? Imagine that, but more so. The IAP's researchers estimate that depending on where they're located, workers of all types could lose between 3.5 and 6.6 working days per year just because of heat stress.

It's hard to talk about climate change on an individual level. While we should all strive to cut back on energy use and support green business models, the causes are largely out of our hands directly. One study released last year found that just 100 companies worldwide are responsible for more than 70 percent of global emissions. Eating bugs isn't going to fix everything (even if it could help).

You should still find ways to try, though. As the singer Pete Seeger said, "If there's a world here in a hundred years, it's going to be saved by tens of millions of little things." Bother your elected officials — if not suffering even more from heat and extreme weather is important to you, you can make it important to them.