12 ways global warming will change everyday life
We all know the world is getting warmer, but what difference will it make to how we live? Some of the predictions may surprise you.
We may end up wearing woolly jumpers
There is already a movement towards ‘slow fashion’, where consumers opt for garments made from natural fabrics such as linen and wool and designed to last. US brand Zady says that ‘fast fashion’ items worn a few times and thrown out produce 400 per cent more carbon per item per year than clothes worn 50 times.
You will be more likely to be bitten by a shark on holiday
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, shark attacks are increasing around the world – and it’s thought to be due to global warming. Last year 59 people were bitten, up from 31 in 2011. A study in Progress in Oceanography suggests that sharks are moving northwards as oceans warm up – and humans are spending more time in the water, which is a deadly combination. Researchers at Bond University in Queensland, Australia blame tourism - with 84 per cent of attacks occurring in USA, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, the Bahamas and Reunion.
We will have less sex
When the temperature rises, people actually feel less amorous, not more, according to the private US National Bureau of Economic Research, which tracked 80 years of fertility data against temperatures. Days where the temperature hits 26°C lead to a measurable drop in birth rate eight to ten months later, the researchers say. ‘The lack of a full rebound suggests that increased temperatures due to climate change may reduce population growth rates in the coming century,’ they write.
Hull may disappear
Reports describing the effects of rising sea levels often focus on island nations such as the Maldives – but the less balmy shores of Hull could also be under threat, a town planning expert warned earlier this year. Dr Hugh Ellis, head of policy at the Town and Country Planning Association, said that the city was among several areas in the UK that could, in a worst case scenario, be under threat if sea levels rose by 4ft (1.2m) by 2100.
Chocolate will be a luxury
Britain is one of the world’s biggest consumers of chocolate – but it could become a luxury item by 2050. A study commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on cocoa plantations in the Ivory Coast and Ghana found that land suitable for cocoa production could halve by 2050 if the global temperature rose by 2.3°C. A separate report by University of Sydney researchers suggested prices could double.
England may lose more Ashes series
Climate change can have a real, measurable effect on the conditions at cricket grounds. A 2009 paper by Manoj Joshi at the University of Reading suggested that Australia tends to win the Ashes in warmer, drier ‘La Nina’ years, which are predicted to get more intense.
More people will get kidney stones
Rising global temperatures may lead to an increase in kidney stones, as people suffer from dehydration, according to a study presented to the American Urological Association. The researchers believe that a change of 1-2°C will have a significant effect. In the USA, that could mean one to two million more cases of kidney stones across the lifetime of the population.
Eating oysters might kill you
Warming ocean waters could lead to an upsurge in bacteria called Vibrio, which can cause fatal illnesses in people who eat shellfish. The bacteria are what’s behind the old adage about only eating oysters in months with an ‘r’ in the name – i.e. in winter, when the water is colder.
Wine lovers may have fewer vintages to choose from
Much is made of the rise of English wine as the climate warms – but ‘classic’ wine regions such as Burgundy may be altered beyond recognition, and areas of Greece, Italy and France on the Mediterranean coast may be unable to grow grapes at all by 2050. Pinot Noir lovers may be the worst hit, as the grape is particularly finicky about temperature, with a 2°C ‘range’ in which it grows. Wine growers are already ditching it in favour of hardier varieties, according to Lund University researchers.
Malaria may take hold in the UK
Climate change could make the UK both warmer and wetter - and so more attractive for mosquitoes carrying diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, according to a report produced for Public Health England. Malaria in particular could be transmitted within the UK by 2030, and possibly dengue fever too.
Spiders will grow bigger
Arachnophobes may wish to stop reading now – but global warming may mean that spiders get bigger, and perhaps more plentiful. A 2009 study by Aarhus University looked at the large, hairy Arctic wolf spider found in Greenland (Pardosa glacialis) and found that they grew bigger in years when spring came earlier.
Quinoa and melons will grow in Britain
With quinoa, peaches, melons and tomatoes grown without greenhouses, climate change may actually be good for British agriculture in the 21st century, says former Rothamsted Research director Ian Crute – but crop production may need to increase even more to help feed people in less temperate regions.