8 NOVEMBER, 2021 - SHANK MEDIA, BY MATT HOOPER: The Climate Emergency - Part 1: St Andrews Under Threat
We have all seen the photo's from golf magazines and on social media of the Old Course under water in 2050, and whilst it is easy to look at it and laugh, or dismiss it, the threat is real, as for all the other golf courses on the Links land.
This is not just the disappearance of 6 golf courses, this is the impact of Climate Change and Global Warming being absolutely devastating to the town, its economy and cutting the town off from routes to Guardbridge and beyond.
A recent body of research has stated that the Old Course, along with Glasgow Airport and the Kelpies among others, could be under water due to the effects of Global Warming and Climate Change.
The study, conducted by Climate Central, shows the entirety of the Links, the vast majority of farmland and much of the A91 between St Andrews and Guardbridge will be under water by 2050 unless measures are put in place to combat the potentially devastating temperature rise of 1.5 degrees.
“Unchecked, the impacts of climate change could significantly affect the sport over the long term, particularly in Scotland,” the report states, noting that one in six of Scotland’s 600 courses are located on coastline.
But this isn't just a golf issue, far from it.
This would be utterly devastating for St Andrews, catastrophic in fact.
St Andrews Links, The Old Course Hotel, The Rusacks, St Andrews Golf Club, the New Golf Club, St Rule Club, St Regulus Golf Club, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, the Scores Hotel, the Dunvegan, Auchterlonies, St Andrews Golf Company, Hams Hame, Hotel Du Vin and the Russell Hotel would all likely go out of business almost immediately due to the loss of trade and no future chance of income from visiting golfers.
Thousands of people working in these businesses would be unemployed, a devastating legacy of climate change which would surely also see many guest houses and other hotels in the town affected.
Then there is an even bigger issue. St Andrews would be cut off from Guardbridge, Leuchars and the route to Dundee.
Climate Change sea level map from Climate Central https://coastal.climatecentral.org/map/8/-3.806/56.1302/...
The whole of East Sands would disappear, the Harbour and the properties in it would be flooded, and the projections from Climate Central show that the problems would start much earlier than 2050 (by which time I will be 67, all being well!). By 2030 much of the A91 could be under water between St Andrews and Guardbridge, that is 9 years away. We need to act.
And the threat from Climate Change to St Andrews doesn't end there. There is a real threat that the Kinnessburn would flood even more often and with a much more devastating impact to the area.
This is a world problem, and the world needs to work together to reduce carbon emissions and slow global warming, which will require huge and necessary changes to the way all of us live. The consequences of not doing this will be catastrophic to the world, and on a local level to all of us in the area.
In Part 2 we look at the things we can do on a local and personal level to help combat Climate Change, and use the renewables that St Andrews has to power the town and wider area and end our reliance upon fossil fuels.

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