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Researcher: Climate change to affect ‘all our wallets’

975862_droughtCooling and watering bills aren’t the only costs likely to rise as climate change accelerates: new research warns that we can also expect global warming to bring us higher expenses for insurance, medical care and public maintenance.

Alistair Hunt, a researcher at the University of Bath, presented those findings to scientists attending this week’s climate change summit in Copenhagen.

Hunt says the increasing frequency of extreme weather events wrought by climate change will make it more difficult — and more expensive — to maintain public lawns and highways. Hotter and drier summers will also affect property subsidence and insurance rates, while primary care needs for heat-related illnesses could rise five- to nine-fold.

“Through isolating particular consequences of extreme weather fluctuations, projected to become more frequent such as the hotter summers of both 1995 and 2003, and assessing the effect that these weather fluctuations had on local resources, we are helping businesses, councils and individuals to prepare for the future,” Hunt said. “While the case studies might appear parochial and only reflect the concern of particular stakeholders such as the National Trust or the Association of British Insurers, the hike in costs will be shared, climate change will affect all of our wallets.”

Added Johanna Schwarz, editor of IOP Publishing’s Earth and Environmental Science Conference Series, “Climate change is going to affect all of us and Alistair’s presentation in Copenhagen is a timely reminder that it is not just tropical islanders or others in less moderate climate zones that need to adapt.”

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