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    Singapore launches initiatives to tackle heat

    Singapore launches initiatives to tackle heat

    The world is getting warmer – this is a bigger challenge in some regions than in others. By 2045, temperatures in Singapore could hit 40C.`1 Rising heat levels are a key issue for a country that suffers from high levels of humidity.

    Singapore is heating up twice as fast as the rest of the world, according to its Meteorological Services.2 In August, Grace Fu, Singapore's Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, said the country was tackling the issue via strategies in two broad categories: measures to promote cooling in an urban environment, and measures to reduce heat generated from human activities.3


    Planting Trees

    Some of the measures to cool the urban environment include increasing greenery. Singapore's movement to plant more than one million trees and restore natural environments began in April 2020, and has already hit the halfway mark, with more than 540,000 trees planted. The programme is currently three years ahead of its 2030 target, with trees planted along streetscapes, on Jurong Island and other industrial estates, and within nature reserves and gardens.4 Trees have also been introduced in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Jurong Lake Gardens, Pulau Ubin, Pasir Ris Park and Telok Blangah Hill Park. 5

    The government is taking other steps to cool the urban environment, requiring buildings to be designed to limit heat penetration from the outside. There is also a pilot study taking place to see if specially designed 'cool' paint can reflect more heat, so reducing the ambient temperature of Housing and Development Board (HDB) buildings. 6 Cooling the urban environment is essential for a city that's just 85 miles north of the equator, where daily temperatures average around 27 degrees Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) all through the year, and where the temperature in a dense urban area can be several degrees higher than in the land around it.7


    The Rise of Technology

    Singapore is turning to technology to solve some of its heating problems. For example, an island-wide network of sensors is being used to monitor the cooling effects of the trees that have been planted.8

    Singapore is turning to technology to solve some of its heating problems

    In 2020, the Cooling Singapore project, an initiative funded by the National Research Foundation, also announced that it was producing a data model for the city – the 'digital urban climate twin', or DUCT, designed to enable planners and policy makers to test the temperature impact of different scenarios, for example by analysing information on buildings, traffic, vegetation, land surfaces, and movement of people, as well as wind and sunlight.9

    DUCT allows for 'what if' analysis to be conducted, and is able to perform experiments with a city in-silico that would otherwise not be possible in the real world, according to its proponents.10

    Learn more about Asia-Pacific's infrastructure plans

    Following on from DUCT, scientists have moved on to the second phase of the Cooling Singapore Project, which involves conducting a series of studies to examine the impact of heating on both health and natural ecosystems.11Researchers are examining various urban climate risks, and mapping the changes in the spatial and temporal patterns of heat in the country to understand which areas are the most impacted and vulnerable.12 The study is also looking at what the impact of mitigation efforts has been, for example reducing the waste heat ejected from air-conditioning.13


    Reducing Human Impacts

    The country is also making efforts to reduce the heat generated from human activities. Under the Singapore Green Plan it has closed its water loop, transitioned to largely natural gas, and is adopting measures like the incorporation of smart LED lights and solar energy to use 15% less energy in HDB towns by 2030.14 It is also developing eco-friendly districts as demonstration projects which can be scaled up. Jurong Lake District, for example, is becoming a model for sustainable mixed-use, with district cooling, solar power deployment and super low-energy buildings. 15

    Read also: Energy storage race key to harnessing renewable energy's potential

    Moreover, Singapore is making its vehicles cleaner. All new public buses are already hybrid or electric, and it plans to do the same thing with private cars, adopting a 2040 vision to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles. All newly registered cars will need to be cleaner energy models by 2030, and a target is in place to increase electric vehicle (EV) charging from 28,000 to 60,000 by 2030.16


    Transitioning to a Net Zero World

    At Lombard Odier, we believe that it is vital that countries innovate to fulfil their net zero obligations, in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius

    At Lombard Odier, we believe that it is vital that countries innovate to fulfil their net zero obligations, in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Transitioning to clean energy will be a vital part of that process. After more than 200 years of fossil fuel dominance, today we are reaching 'peak oil'.17 Renewable energy is beginning to replace coal, gas and oil, which have been the mainstay of economic growth since the Industrial Revolution. We believe that the transition to an electrified energy system effectively constitutes a new Industrial Revolution, one which brings both new risks and once-in-a-generation opportunities.18 83% of all new electricity generation capacity came from renewables in 2022 19, and since 2010 the levelised cost of solar has fallen by around 80%. 20

    Read more about breaking energy dependence

    But it is important to note that this transformation is about more than just energy production. In homes, offices and right across industry, demand is shifting to cleaner, more efficient electricity-based technologies such as heat pumps and EVs. For the first time, economic growth is being decoupled from emissions, as we transition from a Wasteful, Idle, Lopsided and Dirty (WILD) economy to one that is Circular, Lean, Inclusive and Clean (CLIC®). Investors can benefit from this transition by building portfolios that are resilient to and positioned to take advantage of the considerable economic shocks of the transition to a net-zero world.

    Singapore's plans to set itself up as a leader in this space is commendable. Reducing the country's rising temperature is going to be a challenge, but Singapore is making vital steps in the right direction. For other governments, Singapore is becoming an example to follow - by focussing on renewables, EVs and heat adaptation measures, nations around the world can both reduce energy costs and participate in the transition to a net zero future.


    1 https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/politics/spore-stepping-up-efforts-to-tackle-heat-as-temperatures-could-hit-40-deg-c-by-2045
    2 https://www.channelnewsasia.com/cnainsider/singapore-hot-weather-urban-heat-effect-temperature-humidity-906231#:~:text=The%20island%20is%20heating%20up,Meteorological%20Service%20Singapore%20(MSS).
    3, 4,5  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/climate-change-rising-temperatures-effective-heat-mitigation-strategies-2852206
    6,7 https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-to-hit-target-of-planting-one-million-trees-in-2027-three-years-ahead-of-schedule
    8,9 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2020-12-01/singapore-climate-change-reducing-heat-takes-trees-and-technology
    10 https://www.thegpsc.org/sites/gpsc/files/cooling_singapore_-_digital_urban_climate_twin.pdf
    11, 12, 13 https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/cooling-singapore-studies-to-look-at-rising-temperatures-on-health-natural-ecosystems
    14, 15, 16 https://www.greenplan.gov.sg/vision
    17 https://www.lombardodier.com/electrification
    18, 19 https://www.lombardodier.com/rethinksustainability
    20  https://www.pv-magazine.com/2020/06/03/solar-costs-have-fallen-82-since-2010/

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    This document is issued by Bank Lombard Odier & Co Ltd or an entity of the Group (hereinafter “Lombard Odier”). It is not intended for distribution, publication, or use in any jurisdiction where such distribution, publication, or use would be unlawful, nor is it aimed at any person or entity to whom it would be unlawful to address such a document. This document was not prepared by the Financial Research Department of Lombard Odier.

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