Rising temperatures. Rising oceans. Rising concerns about the effects of climate on our planet and its inhabitants. A ton of scientific data exists that explores the current and future effects of the Earth’s warming climate.
But there’s something else that just might rise your ire: Climate change could also impact your money. Here are some predictions regarding the future of our planet and your money.
1. Your energy costs will increase
Because of fracking, a means of extracting oil and gas from rock shale using pressurized water, North America has been enjoying cheap oil and natural gas in recent years. Climate change, however, causes freshwater supplies to decrease and water costs to increase, resulting in a fall-off in fracking-related fossil fuel production and demand. In addition, many rivers in the U.S. may see less water flow due to shifting precipitation patterns and accelerated evaporation; less water flowing into rivers means less water available to cost-efficiently power hydroelectric dams.
2. Your food costs will soar
According to National Geographic, warming temperatures may increase some crops’ yields but other crops may see a significant drop. Corn yield might decline as much as 20 percent in the Midwestern United States; this, along with the rising cost of water, will cause the cost of meat production to rise – a cost that will be passed on to consumers. Rising temperatures could create shortages in fruits and vegetables, causing significant price hikes at the grocery store. And seafood is likely to become rarer — and pricier — owing to rising carbon dioxide levels causing increased ocean acidification that kills off species like salmon.
3. Your health care costs could grow
Warmer weather, combined with higher levels of carbon dioxide, can contribute to increased air pollution. Worsening air pollution can exacerbate conditions such as asthma, emphysema, allergies, and other pulmonary issues. Another climate-related health concern: Warmer climate encourages the spread of insects such as mosquitoes, which carry deadly diseases.
4. Using water will cost you more
Based on current climate models and methods for collecting and storing water, scientists predict that potable (safe to drink) water may become increasingly rare in the next 50 years. One of the factors contributing to the dwindling supply: Warmer global temperatures affect water quality, according to both the Union of Concerned Scientists and Physicians for Social Responsibility. Also of concern: Rising seawater in low-lying coasts areas can contaminate freshwater reserves, and, in areas of drought, freshwater concentrations are expected to have increased levels of contaminants.
5. Owning your own home could cost more
Purchasing a home in an area negatively affected by climate change could affect both your mortgage options and your insurance. For example, homes built in unincorporated fire-prone areas may be charged an annual fee to help mitigate the cost of firefighting efforts.