Outline map of Scotland


Climate change research at the Scottish Research Institutes



Climate change is widely recognised as the most serious environmental threat facing our planet today, and is likely, therefore, to become central to policy-making and land-use decision-making within the next decade or two, and remain so for many years thereafter. In the Scottish Government’s Climate Change Strategy, the need to move to a low-carbon economy by 2050 is emphasised, and, recognising that some climate change will occur even if emissions are successfully reduced, some of the adaptive responses that might be made are outlined. Subsequent policy documents for the forestry and agriculture sectors have also been published, both of which acknowledge the contribution of these sectors as both sources and sinks of GHGs. Similarly, the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy explicitly recognises the threat of potential shifts in species’ range, and a need, therefore, to minimise limits to dispersal and migration.

In addition, the Scottish Government announced in June 2007 the Scottish Climate Change Bill with a proposed target for reduction of GHG emissions of 80% by 2050, and studies are currently underway to evaluate possible means by which this target may be achieved. Consequences of GHG reduction targets for Scotland’s environment, land use, and rural communities need to be better understood, as do the management systems needed to encourage sustainable landscapes in the face of changing climate.

Climate change research in the Scottish Research Institutes spans a range of disciplines, providing the ability to integrate natural and social sciences to understand the drivers and biophysical responses of climate change, the economic efficiency of mitigation and adaptation actions, and the social contexts that are important to government decision-making. Social and economic scientists, environmental scientists, ecologists, agronomists, geographers, modellers and statisticians from the following institutes are working together on issues related to climate change:

  Macaulay Land Use Research Institute
MLURI logo
  Scottish Crop Research Institute
SCRI logo and link
  Scottish Agricultural College
SAC logo and link
  Moredun Research Institute
Moredun logo and link
  Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh
RBGE logo and link
BioSS logo and link

Discussion paper

Last updated: 12 Aug 2014    IE 6.0+ and Firefox recommended.