What are some of the knock on effects of these impacts?

Flooding

With climate change altering precipitation patterns and bringing heavier downpours, it is expected that flood risk will increase. According to the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report, the UK is “very likely” to see more flooding events.

This could have a detrimental impact on property and infrastructure, with knock on consequences for people, heritage, business and communities. Extreme weather events could also cause an increase in storm surge in coastal locations, leading to severe flooding and a risk to life and property.

Agriculture & Forestry Productivity

A warming climate could potentially improve growing conditions in Scotland and thereafter, increase productivity.

However, it can also pose a number of other threats to our agriculture and forestry sector including variable, extreme weather (in particular flooding!), and the spread of pests and diseases, and invasive species.

Pests & Disease

As our climate warms, this may create conditions that allow existing pests and diseases to spread, and new threats to become established in Scotland.

This would have a knock on impact to the health of our people, animals, plants and ecosystems if not managed correctly and efficiently. An example would be an increase in the spread of ticks, a type of insect which can cause Lyme disease in the population.

Soil Quality

We need our soils! To sustain biodiversity, to support agriculture and forestry, and to regulate the water and carbon cycles.

Soil also acts as a record of environmental change and preserves archaeological deposits and artefacts, central to our culture and heritage. Soil and vegetation may be impacted by changes in rainfall and increased temperatures, as well as the way we use our land.

Food Supply

Climate change might impact the production of food across the world. Although we might be able to grow more food here in Scotland, this will not offset the impact global disruption will have on us.

The effects of increased volatility in the global commodity market, due to exposure to extreme climatic events, will have an impact on the supply and cost of food here in Scotland.

We live in a society very used to eating whatever we want, whenever we want it; as opposed to eating seasonal, locally produced foods.

Nature & Environment

Climate change may effect the delicate balance of our country’s ecosystems, transforming our habitats and biodiversity. Distinct native species may be lost, like the Puffin, whilst invasive species may thrive. The degraded environment may not be able to sustain productive land or water supply.

Peat bogs are the world’s largest terrestrial carbon store, and a warming of the climate may cause them to degrade and release carbon into the atmosphere instead. Damaged peatlands release 6% of global anthropogenic (man-made) CO2 emissions annually!

Health & Wellbeing

Whilst a warmer climate may provide more opportunity for us to be outdoors, enjoying a healthy, active lifestyle (reducing mortality in winter!), it could adversely affect disease and health issues in other ways, such as the heat-related deaths experienced during the 2003 European heatwave.

Climate change and associated extreme weather events such as flooding may negatively disrupt the lives of individuals and communities, limit access to vital services and impact on peoples physical and mental health.

Water Supply

As the climate warms and rainfall patterns change, there may be increased competition for water between households, industry and the needs of the natural environment.

Summer droughts may become more frequent and more severe, causing problems for water quality and supply, with a knock on effect to food production systems across the globe.

Infrastructure

Our energy, transport, ICT and water networks are vital to our health, wellbeing, and economic prosperity. The effects of climate change on these systems will vary, but these systems are likely to be increasingly disrupted by events such as flooding, landslides, drought, heatwaves and more.

Our infrastructure is closely inter-linked, and failure in any one area could cause wider disruption across society.

Culture & Heritage

The changing climate is already altering our unique Scottish landscape and threatening our historical monuments and environment through acid rain, coastal erosion, flooding, landslides and more.

The increasing pace of climate change presents a serious challenge to those involved in the care, protection, conservation and promotion of our environments.

Heatwave & Drought

Global heatwaves are forecast to increase, having a knock on effect on the occurrence of wildfire, drought, heat stroke, food insecurity and more.

It is likely we will have increased heatwave occurrence here in Scotland, but not to the extremes seen in countries like Australia.

Heatwaves provide ideal conditions for thunderstorms, which could result in more flash flooding, leading to landslide which will disrupt our infrastructure and risk the wellbeing of people.

“The impacts of warming are already underway, but we do have the means to limit climate change and have a sustainable, prosperous future.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2014

Further Reading

Want to learn some more? Check out these useful links for more information on the impacts of climate change and their effects.

Now we’ve covered the impacts, it’s time to find out what we can do to…

Mitigate Climate Change!

Time is short and the solutions are simple.

Get in touch

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If you would like to know more about what we are doing please get in touch. We are always looking for new members to join our organisation. If you have particular knowledge around climate change issues, or growing, making and mending skills you’d like to share, or just want to know more, we want to hear from you. Everyone is welcome, together we can make a difference.