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

As Global Temperatures Rise, Singapore’s Productivity and Health Suffer: New Study Finds Extreme Heat Exposure Could Cost Country Billions in Economic Losses

A study by the National University of Singapore has revealed that Singapore’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. This decline 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, workers lose around S$21 in median income for each hot day. Project HeatSafe is the first major study in Singapore and the wider region to analyze the impact of rising temperatures on productivity and health at both individual and macroeconomic levels.

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. In Singapore, this means investing in policies and technologies that can help workers stay cool during hot weather while also improving their overall well-being.

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