Global warming is driving temperatures to alarming levels of above 40 deg C across Asia, with 50 deg C summers recorded in India. This trend shows no signs of abating. The World Meteorological Organization warns that temperatures are projected to surge to unprecedented highs in the coming five years, intensifying the severity and frequency of health-threatening heatwaves in the region.
As temperatures rise, a variety of health issues emerge. Extreme heat disrupts the body’s natural temperature regulation, leading to illnesses like heat exhaustion, heatstroke, hyperthermia, and even death. It can also worsen pre-existing illnesses such as heart diseases, diabetes and respiratory ailments. Additionally, research has shown that aggression, anxiety, depression and suicide rates increase with temperature spikes, highlighting the lesser-known impact of extreme heat on our psychological well-being.
While affordable air-conditioning options may seem like a quick fix, the anticipated addition of one billion air-conditioners worldwide comes with a caveat. The coolants used in these systems have a warming potency 1,600 times greater than carbon dioxide, negating the potential benefits they offer. Exploring alternatives like solar geoengineering offers a viable means to cool the Earth by reflecting sunlight back to space. Through sustainable practices and innovative technologies, we can shape a future where the impacts of climate change are minimised to safeguard our health and our communities.

Mr Ho Swee Huat

Mr Ho Swee Huat is the Founder and Managing Director of Abacus Assets Advisors Pte Ltd. Before starting the company, he had an established career in the banking industry, with 20 years of experience in Singapore, Hong Kong and New York.

He was an Independent Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of CapitaCommercial Trust Management LTD from 2004 to 2013.

He is the current Chairman of Autism Association (Singapore) which he co-founded with a group of parents in 1992. He is also Vice-Chairman of Eden School, a special school for children with autism.

Mr Ho holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Liberal Arts degree in Economics from Hamilton College, USA.

He has been a member of the Board of the Foundation since its incorporation.