Old Course 'may crumble into sea'

13 October 2008 Respond to this article

Old Course 'may crumble into sea'

13th October 2008

An environmental expert predicts that St. Andrews' Old Course may be eroded by the sea by 2050

An environmental expert in St Andrews has warned the year 2050 could see the town's famous golf course, the Old Course, crumble into the North Sea.

Professor Jan Bebbington, director of the St Andrews Sustainability Institute, has visualised the effect of climate change on Scotland in 50 years.

She was one of several commissioned by the David Hume Institute to predict what would happen in the future.

Her report will be launched at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

Prof Bebbington, of St Andrews University, also visualises a car-sharing nation of vegetarians, a country with evolving values, 'respected and trusted' political leaders working form a virtual parliament, and Celtic and Rangers players sharing the same carbon-neutral diet.

Prof Bebbington was asked to write an imaginary speech based on the assumption that Scotland had attained an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2050.

Several authors, including St Andrews rector Simon Pepper, wrote as if they were delivering lectures at a world carbon forum to inspire countries which have fallen short of their targets.

Prof Bebbington, writes in her imaginary speech: "We are living in a time of profound change, given the broader carbon performance of the globe.

"Like many of your own countries we have had to adapt to more severe winter storms, to more flooding, coastal erosion and also rising sea levels.

"We limited the effects of some of these impacts by banning building in high risk areas (some 20 years before the actual impacts were felt), progressively investing in strengthening our infrastructure and making a managed retreat from vulnerable coastal locations.

"This was still a painful experience, especially as we lost many historical sites on coasts (for example, many of you will remember the sorrow at the last British Open played in St Andrews)."

With the academic's estimated world population of 9.5 billion in 2050, Prof Bebbington believes we will move towards a "largely vegetarian diet, with meat being eaten sparingly, but with great relish".

She also predicts a move towards buying hardwood furniture made in Scotland, from timber grown in Scotland.

From: BBC