Climate change has become an important, challenging topic among researchers, scientist and climate experts. However, now even financial experts and economists are jumping into the mix as they consider its impact on cost and demand. It’s no surprise that climate change has intensified weather events, from droughts, heat waves, storms to floods. What many of us fail to realize is that these changes create additional costs for all of us, from increased food prices to higher insurance rates and more expensive public services.
Consider the following specific economic impacts from climate change. Abnormally high temperatures increase evaporation from soil and reservoirs, causing more precipitation to fall as rain and less as snow. Hotter temperatures also cause snowpack on mountains to melt earlier in the season. These two factors are especially troubling for a region like California that relies on the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains as its primary natural water source. California’s agriculture is a $36.6 billion dollar industry that generates $100 billion in related economic activity — so any disruption to operations, such as drought, will have far reaching consequences for the U.S. and the world, increasing the cost of food!
Aside from an increase in food prices, higher and drier temperatures caused by climate change create perfect conditions for large wildfires. Data from the U.S. Forest Service indicate that over the past four decades, wildfires have become more and more common in the western U.S. The property damage caused by these fires can eventually increase the cost of home insurance, while extra costs for fighting these fires raise the cost of public services! A 2011 study published in the Climatic Change journal estimated that if we continue our reliance on fossil fuels and do not modify our consumption, by year 2085, annual wildfires in California will increase by 40-70% as compared to 1975.
Extreme weather conditions, such as droughts, floods, storms, heat waves and other weather events do naturally occur. However, in an increasingly warmer world, these types of weather events will occur more frequently and with more intensity. While it’s easy to think that climate change will just go away on its own, only we (humans) can make a real difference and alter our planet’s course.
We’re in this together. Know Before™.
The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team