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Bankrate's 2007 Living Green, Saving Green Guide
Global warming is a serious issue around the world.
Global warming: What it could cost you

Scientists' portraits of continued global warming are not a pretty sight: intensified hurricanes, droughts, floods and dramatic shortages of clean air, water and food supplies.

But if you think that's bad, wait until you get the bill.

You can never say with any one storm, 'We caused that.' But you can also never say with any one storm, 'We did not cause that.'”

"Global warming will cause profound changes, and it will be costly for people," says Chris Miller, director of U.S. Climate Campaigns for Greenpeace USA. "Things we've been taking for granted for so long in this country will be hard to take for granted -- from driving big cars we can afford to fuel to turning on the tap."

While no one is predicting water will stop running altogether, many global warming experts predict that it will be scarcer in some areas and more expensive across the board.

Signs of the early damage from warming already are appearing, according to a growing number of scientists and environmentalists. "There's likely going to be an increase in droughts and floods," says Stephen H. Schneider, climatologist and professor at Stanford University. "We're just beginning to show that emerging," he adds, in the form of more intense, destructive and deadly storms.

"You can never say with any one storm, 'We caused that,'" says Schneider. "But you can also never say with any one storm, 'We did not cause that.'"

Unchecked, continued climate change could mean big lifestyle changes in the next 30 years to 50 years. And it could also mean that life for your children and grandchildren will be more difficult and more expensive.

What's up weatherwise?
With global warming, "Dry areas are likely to get dryer and wet areas are likely to get wetter," says Chris Field, director of the department of global ecology for the Carnegie Institution at Stanford University.

And that can wallop the pocketbook.

Take homeowners insurance, for example. "One of the things that has already started is the difficulty of getting insurance along the coast," says Joe Romm, author of "Hell and High Water: Global Warming -- the Solution and the Politics -- and What We Should Do," and a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress.

Each year some 1.5 million tons of plastic are used on the bottling of 23 billion gallons of drinking water.

And it's going to get worse, he adds, making it more difficult for people who own coastal or even inland property, even if they are not hit by storms. "Thousands of policies could be canceled as climate models begin to show that part of the world is more impacted by storms in the North Atlantic," says Miller.

And that could have yet another financial impact, says Romm. "If we don't get serious about global warming in the next 10 years to 15 years, coastal property values will crash," he says.

-- Posted: Oct. 4, 2007
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