Global warming to boost Scots farmers

August 15, 2005

Climate change could be good news for Scottish farmers, according to ESRC funded research at the University of Stirling. Rising temperatures and increased CO2 levels could mean increased yields and a boost to local economies, according to Professor Nick Hanley, who led the project.

The research findings are based on a series of interlinked models, which analysed the effects of projected changes in Scotland’s weather on land use, regional economies and biodiversity. The possible effects of reform to the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) were also taken into account.

‘We were quite surprised to find that global warming is not necessarily a bad thing,’ says Nick Hanley. ‘Rising temperatures will permit farmers to grow more productive, faster developing crops and increase the intensity of livestock farming. At the same time, the extra C02 in the atmosphere will reduce the need for artificial fertilizers and this will offset any negative economic effects of climate change.’

Despite the predicted benefits of climate change, the prosperity of Scottish farmers will depend more on the extent to which the CAP is reformed, Nick Hanley warns. ‘Yields may go up, but prices will depend on changes in the marketplace rather than the weather.’

The research also found significant regional variations in the effects of climate change. The knock-on effects of increased farm income would be felt most strongly in the lowland south-west region of Scotland, and least in the hill farming areas of the North West. The only area which might experience poorer yields was the low-lying, low rainfall coastal south east, where irrigation might be needed in the long term, the report says.

The study found little evidence of changes to biodiversity as a result of shifting patterns of land use and management. ‘The indirect effects of climate change seem to be small, but there will also be direct effects which could not be predicted from our data,’ says Nick Hanley.

Source: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Explore further: Colorado River flows will keep shrinking as climate warms

Related Stories

Colorado River flows will keep shrinking as climate warms

February 21, 2017

Warming in the 21st century reduced Colorado River flows by at least 0.5 million acre-feet, about the amount of water used by 2 million people for one year, according to new research from the University of Arizona and Colorado ...

How do you cool a city in a warming world?

February 21, 2017

Globally, 2016 was the warmest year on record. In Los Angeles, temperature records were shattered last summer during scorching heat waves that saw highs of 100 degrees for five days straight.

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

February 21, 2017

Warming seawaters, caused by climate change and extreme climatic events, threaten the stability of tropical coral reefs, with potentially devastating implications for many reef species and the human communities that reefs ...

Recommended for you

Science versus the 'Horatio Alger myth'

February 22, 2017

In a new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE, Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have taken a condensed matter physics concept usually applied to the way substances such as ice freeze, called "frustration," ...

What do your co-workers really think of you?

February 22, 2017

Everyday in the workplace, colleagues actively compete for a limited amount of perks, including raises, promotions, bonuses and recognition. But new research from Washington University in St. Louis shows that, more than often ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.