Monday, July 8, 2013

The elements of destruction in Scotland

Rob Edwards in HeraldScotland: Scotland is facing more than 100 serious threats to our way of life because of rising pollution that is affecting the climate, according to a series of new assessments by the Scottish Government. As well extreme weather including floods, snow, storms and droughts, there could be plagues of pests, ravaging diseases and toxic algal blooms. Power cuts, food shortages, wildfires, mass travel disruptions and wildlife extinctions are all forecast.

As if that were not enough, the list of potential problems caused by global warming also includes more sewer overflows, soil erosion and landslides. More deaths and illness are likely during heatwaves, while air and water pollution could worsen and fogs intensify.

Without any announcement, Scottish ministers have released four reports with the latest analysis of the multiple threats Scotland is facing, and moves to combat them. They are part of the government's climate adaptation programme, required under climate change legislation. Last week, the UN's World Meteorological Organisation warned of the escalating risk to human life of wild weather spurred on by climate change.

...The four reports list more than 130 major [e]ffects of climate change, the vast majority of them negative. Homes, roads, railway lines, power stations and sub-stations are all at significant risk of flooding, the reports say.

The worst case scenarios would risk coastal farms, golf courses and revered ancient monuments such as the prehistoric village at Skara Brae in Orkney being drowned under rising sea levels. Some crops could suffer, some animal species could leave, and people could migrate north to Scotland from elsewhere in Europe to escape unbearably high temperatures. Mould growth could blossom in damp buildings, causing more respiratory problems, while food poisoning could increase. The escalating disruptions to daily life are likely to cause stress and mental health problems...

Skara Brae in the Orkneys, shot by Museum, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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