The record-breaking rainfall and devastating floods that have drenched Scotland over the last few weeks are the “new normal” – and they could force communities to abandon built-up areas and move to higher ground.
Experts canvassed by the Sunday Herald warn that we will have to get used to more winters like this one, as climate pollution from vehicles and industry warms the globe and wreaks havoc with the weather. Without action to curb carbon emissions, they say, it is likely to get much worse.
“There is no natural weather any more,” declared Professor James Curran, the former chief executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and a leading climate expert. “The world is now warmer by one degree centigrade than it would be without climate change – so there is no weather anywhere, at any time, that isn’t man-made these days.”
It was wasting time to endlessly debate to what extent the current bad weather was caused by climate pollution, he argued. After last month’s climate summit in Paris, the priority was to tackle the problem.
“It’s been long predicted and is almost certain now that, whatever we do, flooding both from the sea and from rivers will become more severe and at least twice as frequent by 2100,” he said.