9 Surprising things affected by climate change

Whether we're conscious of it or not, climate change affects way more than the temperature. Here are nine unexpected ways climate change is shaping our world. 

Beer, tea and mental health are just two three of the surprising things that are affected by climate change according to the Climate Coalition. They've shared the information following the government’s commitment to eradicate its net contribution to climate change by 2050, the foundations of which are laid down by the Clean Growth Grand Challenge, part of the Modern Industrial Strategy.

surprising effects climate change

Clara Goldsmith, campaigns director from the Climate Coalition, said: “We know that climate change is already having immense impacts, both in the UK and elsewhere in the world, as we see an increase in extreme weather events—from the 2018 heatwaves to wildfires in the Arctic Circle, increased flooding and rising sea levels. But it's also having an impact on many things that might surprise us, like mental health, allergies or tea as climate change permeates so many aspects of our lives. It's vital that we end our contribution to climate change as soon as possible to avoid the worst of these effects—that's why the government's announcement to set a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 was widely welcomed.”

 

1. Beer

pint of beer
Photo by Seth Weisfeld

The good old pint is not exempt from the impacts of climate change. In addition to water shortages, brewers are growing increasingly concerned about the second key ingredient—barley.

Droughts in the UK significantly damage barley crops, along with other grains. The production and quality of hops are similarly threatened by increasing temperatures.

 

2. Allergies

climate change making hayfever worse
Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel

Allergies are expected to worsen. Pollen is produced at a higher rate when plants are exposed to warmer temperatures and higher levels of CO2, two hallmarks of our changing climate.

Not only this, but higher temperatures may lengthen the period in which plants produce pollen.

 

3. Tea production

tea climate change
Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel

It may be a national staple, but tea production is due to be drastically influenced by climate change, with key regions set to experience significant reductions in production as a result of warming temperatures.

The quality of our favourite beverage is also expected to decline.

 

4. Food expiration

food will go off quicker
Photo by 

In a warming climate food will expire faster as the bacteria responsible for making your food go mouldy multiplies faster in higher temperatures.

This will add to the 7 million tons of food thrown out by UK households every year.

 

5. Our beaches

beach

Miles of the UK’s most beautiful beaches may be lost.

Higher global temperatures have a direct impact on rising sea levels, which cause cliffs to collapse, and beaches to flood.

 

6. Mental health

mental health climate change

Around 1 in 4 adults in the UK will experience a mental health illness in their lifetime, and it is likely climate change will contribute.

Climate change exposes communities to extreme weather events, including severe flooding and heatwaves, which can leave individuals vulnerable to mental health illnesses, such as anxiety and depression.

 

7. Sport

With flooded football pitches and rained off cricket matches, climate change is disrupting some of our most loved sports.

Winter sports are similarly threatened, with milder winters set to reduce snowfall—some of Scotland’s top resorts are now forced to spend thousands of pounds on artificial snow.

 

8. Car accidents

Several studies have found a relationship between increased temperatures and fatal car accidents, with hot weather making drivers fatigued.

As heatwaves are expected to increase in frequency and severity in the UK, car crashes may, unfortunately, become more frequent over the coming years.

 

9. Home insurance

Extreme weather events are set to become more frequent due to climate change. To make matters worse, the aftermath of such events are plagued by difficulties claiming home insurance.

In the US, thousands lost coverage after extreme weather, while closer to home, insurance premiums have already increased by 7.6%.

 

Get involved in Green Great Britain & Northern Ireland Week 2019, which runs from 4-8 November. Find out more at greengb.campaign.gov.uk