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

Hotter Temperatures, Heavier Economic Losses: The Impact of Heat Stress on Singapore’s Productivity

Due to rising temperatures, Singapore is facing economic losses due to heat stress, which are projected to increase nearly twice in value by 2035 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2018. A recent study by the National University of Singapore has revealed that productivity has declined across various sectors in the country.

In 2018, heat strain led to a decrease of 11.3% in average productivity across sectors like services, construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. This trend is expected 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.

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. Project HeatSafe is the first large-scale study in Singapore and the region to analyze the impact of rising heat levels on both individual health and macroeconomic productivity.

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 fertility rates, which are already at historic lows in Singapore.

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

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