Singapore’s economy could suffer losses of more than $1.5 billion due to heat strain

Rising Temperatures, Plummeting Productivity: Study Warns of $1.64 Billion Loss in Singapore by 2035

In recent years, Singapore has become known for its beautiful sunsets by the pier. However, a new study by the National University of Singapore reveals that the country’s economic losses due to heat stress could almost double to $1.64 billion in 2035 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2018. The study found that heat strain caused an 11.3% decrease in average productivity across Singapore’s major economic sectors in 2018, including services, construction, manufacturing, and agriculture.

The decline in productivity is expected to worsen in the coming years, with productivity expected to fall by 14% in 2035. Workers who are exposed to adverse environmental conditions such as working under the sun or being exposed to heat from machinery face higher productivity losses on average. On average, workers lose around S$21 in median income for each hot day.

The study also highlights the impact of rising temperatures on health at both individual and macroeconomic levels. Project HeatSafe is the first major study in Singapore and the wider region to analyze this impact. The extreme heat exposure not only affects cognitive capacity and physical exertion but also poses a risk to the country’s already low fertility rate. As global temperatures continue to rise, countries worldwide will need to address the economic and health impacts of extreme heat.

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