Singapore financial district vulnerable to rising sea levels: CBRE

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A view of the central business district in Singapore May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Prime office real estate in Singapore’s central business district (CBD) is highly susceptible to the risk of flooding as sea levels rise due to global warming, property consultants CBRE said in a report on Thursday.

It said 51 buildings with about 20.8 million square feet (1.9 million sq m) of office space are in high flood risk areas, assuming that average global temperatures rise 1.5 degree Celsius as a U.N. panel has estimated may happen between 2030 and 2052.

The city-state’s Marina Bay area with soaring office towers worth billions of dollars is the most vulnerable, CBRE said.

Much of Singapore’s financial district, where numerous multi-national companies and banks have offices, is built on reclaimed land and is less than 5 metres above sea level.

Assuming global temperatures rise by 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, an additional 4 million square feet of office area across 13 buildings in the CBD may be under threat, CBRE said.

“Singapore is vulnerable to prolonged heat waves, increased flash floods and rising sea levels as a result of climate change,” CBRE analysts said in their report.

“While the government has adopted several pre-emptive policies to mitigate the impact, the measures do not completely eradicate the risks.”

Protecting Singapore against rising sea levels could cost S$100 billion ($72 billion) or more over 100 years, according to the government.

In 2019, it said it would spend S$400 million to upgrade and maintain the country’s drains and strengthen its flood resilience.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Martin Petty