Money·3 min read

How Climate Change Can Affect Your Wallet

A woman reading about climate change initiatives
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Apr 21, 2022

It's getting hot in here. And nations aren’t doing enough to stop it.

The United Nations released a report that says climate change is on track to rise to dangerous levels within most people's lifetimes. And even if every nation sticks to its current pledges, it most likely won’t stop the Earth from warming 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit in the next few decades.

Another report from 2021 found that, on average, children born in 2020 vs. 1960 will have to live through two to seven times more extreme weather events (think: wildfires, tropical cyclones, floods, droughts, and heat waves).

What You Need to Know About Climate Change and Your Money

Environmental concerns can mean a lot to your wallet.

Changing weather patterns (one effect of climate change) can impact what you pay for insurance, food, and utilities. Severe natural disasters could cause insurance companies to spend more on claims and push up your premiums to make up for it. More unpredictable weather and droughts could leave farmers short on produce or meat, making them bump your food bill higher. And if warmer temps have everyone cranking the AC, electricity could get more expensive, too.

On a larger scale, studies show that climate change can be a drag on the whole economy, lowering the world's GDP and increasing the global wealth gap. While it's on the gov to come up with and enforce big solutions to address climate change, there are ways you can help your wallet and the environment in the meantime. 

Your Move: Prep Your Money for Climate Change

You may not be able to save the planet on your own. But you can make changes to slash your bills. And moves to align your money decisions with your values. Some ideas:

Know your insurance options.

Get quotes from a few different, reputable insurance providers to find coverage you need at the best price. Then see if bundling policies, paying annually vs. monthly or quarterly, enrolling in auto-pay, and/or raising your deductible could save you more.

Grocery-shop smarter.

Make a grocery shopping list to avoid impulse buys. Compare prices based on volume. Scan the shelves for deals. (They tend to stock the priciest products at eye-level.) Oh, and after you eat, try turning kitchen scraps into new food. Sustainable and delicious.

Go green(er) at home.

Reducing paper waste, swapping reusables for single-use plastics, and going green with your makeup and skincare routine are low-lift ways to minimize your footprint and trim your costs. Win win.

Put your money where your values are.

And adjust your budget accordingly. Because those eco-friendly swaps for everyday items might cost more. But isn't protecting Mother Earth worth it? 

You can also look into "socially responsible investing" — a strategy that considers companies' environmental and social impact, in addition to potential financial returns — and other ways to do biz with companies that share your values.

Vote.

Not just every four years. Cast your ballot in local elections, too. Support lawmakers who champion climate change policies you believe in. And contact legislators to let them know your thoughts.

theSkimm

The environment isn’t the only thing that’s going to pay for climate change. Do your part to protect the Earth — and your finances. Because Captain Planet is right: the power is yours.


Updated April 21 to add info from the UN Report on Limiting Global Warming.  


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