Extreme heat hinders fight against global poverty, malnutrition

Extreme heat is baking communities across parts of Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere, causing record temperatures, dangerous conditions and fatalities.

Ariel Ortiz-Bobea is an applied economist at Cornell University with expertise in agricultural, environmental and energy policy. Ortiz-Bobea and colleagues have published new research showing that extreme heat exposure increases the prevalence of chronic and acute malnutrition in parts of Africa, and his work has previously demonstrated that high temperatures slow growth in agricultural productivity.

Ortiz-Bobea says:

“The record heat we are experiencing in many parts of Europe and the U.S. is a reminder that we’re living in a much warmer world. Extreme heat is not only causing inconvenience. Our research indicates that these higher temperatures are already slowing progress in agricultural productivity globally. Our most recent study finds that extreme heat has a permanent detrimental effect on child malnutrition in parts of Africa. What we are doing to reduce global poverty is being eroded by our lack of action on climate.”

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