Scotland's climate to match south-east England by 2050

Scotland will be "not a bad place to be" under current climate change scenarios, the first combined ScotGrow trade show and conference at Oatridge College, West Lothian, was told last week.

According to Dr Dave Reay, senior lecturer in carbon management at the University of Edinburgh School of GeoSciences: "If you had to choose a country, Scotland's not a bad place to be. Spring is getting two to six days earlier each decade and autumn two days later. And more CO2 means higher yields of things like carrots. The north east of Scotland will also have the best climate in the UK for rotation forestry.

"By 2050 Scotland will be more like south east England is now. Meanwhile, champagne growers are already buying land in England."

Some changes will be good and bad, he added. "Warmer, wetter winters will lead to late frost damage, and warmer summers will bring heat stress. We will also have more of both drought and water-logging. Pest and disease problems will also increase - aphids really like climate change."

Adapting to this will mean improved water management, protecting people from sun, heat and rain, greater mulching of crops and more shading and ventilation in glasshouses, he advised: "Trees in the right place are fantastic for carbon storage. But if you plant them in deep peat, you cancel out the benefit. Peat is also a also a brilliant carbon store and it needs more protection," added Reay.

To avoid an anticipated worldwide rise of 2 degsC will require a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and an 80 per cent cut in the developed world, he said.

"We can do it with the right incentives, but it will need all sectors to contribute. All policy on climate change is doomed to fail unless it gets feedback from people who implement it."

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