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Scotland's Changing Climate

Scotland has seen major developments in the effort to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In 2019 the Scottish Government declared a global climate emergency and revised the Climate Change Act’s Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets to a reduction of 75% by 2030, 90% by 2040 in comparison with 1990 levels, and net-zero emissions by 2045.

The latest climate change projections show that Scotland is expected to experience milder and wetter winters, hotter and drier summers, and an increase in extreme weather event intensity. This poses several risks including increased flooding, droughts, incidences of pests and disease and losses of biodiversity.

It is important that farm businesses actively consider climate change adaptation to minimise potential risks and where possible benefit from any opportunities that may present themselves.

There are both significant risks and opportunities for the agricultural sector due to climate change. These range from environmental hazards such as flooding to farm productivity and income changes such as price volatility and longer growing seasons. Implementing adaptation measures can help increase the resilience of your business against the negative effects of climate change while ensuring any opportunities can be utilised.

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Scotland has seen an increase in annual average rainfall and extreme rainfall events, which has led to an increased risk of flooding. This trend is predicted to continue, as long, wetter periods become more frequent. These changes are already negatively impacting soil quality, livestock and crops costing farmers time and money.

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There are increasing concerns about the occurrence of higher temperature and drought conditions in Scotland. Projections for Scotland indicate that even under a low emissions pathway, there will be a 50% chance of each summer being hotter than that of 2018. These conditions can are already having an impact on soil, crop and livestock health, as well as water availability and wildfire occurrence.

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While gales and storms are a common occurrence over winter months in Scotland, it is projected that by 2080 the intensity of storms will increase, with some models also projecting an increased frequency. There is uncertainty in some of the models, however, history shows us the damage that extreme weather events can cause.

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Sub-zero temperatures and snowfall conditions can cause damage to infrastructure, crops and livestock.  While climate projections indicate that much of Scotland will see a reduction in the occurrence of frost and snowfall over the next century, cold weather and snowfall events will continue to be issues that farmers will need to deal with from time to time.

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CC Adaptation Checklist


This document provides a climate change adaptation checklist for your business so that various climate change adaptation measures can be considered. This will help you determine the most suitable and effective methods for improving resilience to climate change on your farm. Additionally, the topics examined throughout this document will provide suggestions and ideas that can aid in the development of an Emergency Action Plan for your business.



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