Singapore’s Economy Could Lose Over $1.5 Billion Due to Heat Strain

Double Dangers: How Economic Productivity and Health are Being Impacted by Heat Stress in Singapore

A recent study by the National University of Singapore has revealed that workers in Singapore are experiencing economic losses due to heat stress, which are expected to nearly double to $1.64 billion in 2035 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2018. The study estimates that for every hot day, workers could experience a median income loss of S$21 per worker due to reduced productivity during working hours.

In 2018, heat strain led to an 11.3% decrease in average productivity across various economic sectors in the country. This trend is projected to worsen over time, with a predicted 14% fall in productivity by 2035. Workers who are exposed to adverse environmental conditions such as working under the sun or with heat-generating machinery will face even higher economic losses.

Singapore’s rapid warming rate, which is twice that of the global average, has caused extreme heat levels in the country. The UV index has reached “extreme” levels twice within four days, prompting concerns about the impact of such intense heat on residents. This level of heat exposure not only affects cognitive and physical abilities but also poses risks to the fertility rate, which is already at historic lows in Singapore.

On a global scale, scientists have warned that the world has surpassed a critical warming threshold, moving the planet into an era of extreme heat. The recent findings emphasize the urgent need to address the impact of rising temperatures on the economy and the overall well-being of the population, both in Singapore and around the world.

Project HeatSafe is a large-scale study conducted by researchers from various institutions including NUS’s School of Public Health and School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science. The project analyzed data from multiple sources including satellite imagery and ground-based sensors to measure temperature and humidity levels across Singapore.

The study found that rising temperatures have had a significant impact on labor productivity across various sectors including construction, manufacturing, services and agriculture. In particular, workers who are exposed to adverse environmental conditions such as working under direct sunlight or with equipment generating high amounts of heat are at higher risk for increased economic losses due to decreased productivity.

The findings suggest that addressing climate change is crucial not only for mitigating its effects on human health but also for ensuring economic stability and long-term growth in countries like Singapore.

Overall, it is clear that climate change poses significant risks not only for our environment but also for our economy and society as a whole. As we continue to face unprecedented challenges related to global warming and its impacts on our daily lives, it is imperative that we take action now to address these issues head-on if we hope to build a sustainable future for ourselves and future generations.

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