Scottish rainfall could increase by 20% due to climate change, though Scotland could learn lessons from Nordic countries
Rainfall in Scotland could increase by around 20%, accompanied by an annual average warming of between 2° and 3°C, according to a new report.
Unfortunately, according to An Exploration for Regional Climate Change Scenarios for Scotland, the rise in temperature will not be as a result of balmier summer days, but will take the form of milder, wetter winters, with an additional 1°C for Scotland’s highest peaks. The coolest individual years will now be comparable with the hottest of recent years. For most parts of Scotland, wind speeds will increase in all seasons, with some of the largest increases being felt in spring around the east coast.
“The words ‘Global Warming’ conjure up in many people’s minds images of long blistering days of sunshine,” said Environment Minister, Sam Galbraith. “This is a misconception. Climate change will be no holiday. Those who have lost precious belongings in the floods experienced in Scotland in recent years will testify to the devastation created by such events.”
Meanwhile, the Scottish Executive has been advised by scientists from Edinburgh University that it should be taking lessons on tackling climate change from programmes in the Nordic countries.
According to a report from the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change and Sustainability, the most important action available to Scotland is to improve energy and thermal efficiency in domestic and commercial buildings, pointing out that there are striking differences between the thermal efficiency of buildings in Ireland and the UK with those in many Nordic countries. Denmark, in particular, has followed aggressive policies of improving energy efficiency through audits and energy labelling.
The report cites a good example of an energy advice service, at the Irish Energy Centre, which provides a model on which to base a one-stop shop for energy and energy efficiency information, coupled to local and regional energy companies dedicated to improving energy efficiency.
“Climate change is an issue that can only be tackled effectively by countries working together and learning from each other,” said Scottish Environment Minister, Sam Galbraith. “This study identifies some interesting ideas for tackling climate change and areas of possible future collaboration between countries in the North Atlantic region.”
Other examples of good practice that Scotland could learn from include developments in agricultural policy in Ireland, Sweden and Denmark, that encourage biomass production as an energy resource, and to reduce nitrous oxide and methane emissions.
However, none of the countries in the study have found a solution to the growing emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, from their transport sectors. Road is the main form of transport in the large rural areas, with few or no alternatives to car use, and nations are reliant on European-wide pressure on vehicle manufacturers to improve fuel efficiency and introduce alternative fuels. Nevertheless, there are a number of existing or planned urban transit schemes to reduce car use in the larger Nordic conurbations, such as Copenhagen and Stockholm, and high fuel taxation exists in most of the study countries.
“Lessons learned from research such as this help us prepare and deal with the implications of climate change in Scotland,” said Galbraith. “We are also pursuing some interesting initiatives to tackle climate change – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to address the impacts of climate change.”
“Co-operation is essential if the threat of climate change is to be tackled effectively,” he added.