6 Global Warming Effects That May Surprise You

You might already think of global warming effects as melting ice, rising seas, stronger hurricanes. But it also means higher grocery bills, serious risk of infection, severe allergies, and more.

By Christina Coplon
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    Your groceries are costing more.

    Because of the 2012 North American Drought—a byproduct of low snowfall followed by high heat—about 80 percent of the country's agricultural land suffered, affecting corn and soybean crops, and dairy and meat products. For the average American, the USDA reports a 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent increase in U.S. food prices.

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    Clothing prices might go up, too.

    Environmentalists are keeping watch on both textile production and overconsumption: the depletion of natural materials and the carbon emissions released by factories are taking a toll on the planet. A recent sustainable project completed by Britain’s Forum for the Future predicted that by the year 2025, factories would be growing textiles from bacterial cellulose, an organic compound produced from bacteria.

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    Your chance of infection is higher.

    As temperatures in Northern areas continue to rise, insects migrate up to the warmer climates—often bringing illnesses with them. For instance, reports of Lyme disease have risen seven-fold in Maine, and twelve-fold in Vermont. Climate change is also affecting zoonosis, the transmission of infectious agents from animals to humans. Numerous studies are reviewing potential illnesses that could erupt as a result, including one on animal feces contaminating drinking water.

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    Your insurance rates are going up.

    Over the past three years insurance premiums have increased by six percent, Travelers Insurance CEO Jay Fishman told CNBC, because of recent weather-related disasters. For example, Superstorm Sandy, which hit the Northeast in October, caused insured losses that were estimated as high as $25 billion, the second-most costly storm in U.S. history after August 2005's Hurricane Katrina.

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    Your allergies are getting worse.

    Bad news for allergy sufferers: climate change could cause pollen counts to more than double over the next 30 years. “As you increase CO2 (carbon dioxide), it tells the allergenic plants to produce more pollen to the tune of three to four times more, and the pollen itself, we think, may actually be more potent,” Dr. Clifford Bassett, a New York allergist and ACAAI fellow told CNN in March.

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    It's not going to be as easy to breathe.

    Urban areas might be more troubled, with combined vehicle fumes, ground-level ozone, industrial pollution, and hot air. But any smog worsens health conditions that affect the respiratory system, causing chronic illnesses such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma.

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