How extreme heat from climate change distorts human behavior

On a sweltering summer afternoon almost a decade ago, Meenu Tewari was visiting a weaving company in Surat in western India. Tewari, an urban planner, frequently makes such visits to understand how manufacturing companies operate. On that day, though, her tour of the factory floor left her puzzled.

“There were no workers there … only machines,” says Tewari of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The missing employees weren’t far away; they were resting in the shade under a nearby awning. Scorching temperatures had been causing workers to make mistakes or even faint near the dangerous machinery, Tewari’s guide told her. So the company had mandated that

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