Global warming is likely to create jobs in industries sectors such as leisure and agriculture – that is just one of the surprise conclusions of recent research into the economic effects on three areas of Scotland.

The research, based on Alan Parnell’s PhD and sponsored by the UK’s Economic and Social Research Council and the National Environmental Research Council, examined how different regions would be affected by climate change if current projections prove accurate.


Taking the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other projections on climate change as their basis, researchers at Stirling University, Scotland, attempted to gauge the regional climatic and economic impact on Argyll, Stirling and Fife.

“We were surprised by some of the results,” says Ian Moffatt of Stirling University, who is assessing the findings before the thesis is examined and papers published in November.

For example, assuming higher rainfall in western Scotland, one model projected a corresponding surge in agricultural employment over the next 100 years.

“Assuming a rise in temperatures in the upper range of the IPCC projections, we might expect 1000 more jobs in the agricultural sector in Argyll," Dr Moffatt told fDi magazine.

This represents a 33% rise in employment in the sector. “However, the same is not true in every region. In Fife, on the eastern coast of Scotland, water supply is likely to become more problematic under the current predictions, so investment in water will be needed to ensure crops survive.”

Dr Moffatt points out that short-term gains in employment could also be altered by changes in energy prices or alterations to the Common Agricultural policy.

He also stressed: “We need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or else face radically different environmental and economic conditions.”

To date, few regional forecasts have been made on the economic effects of rising temperatures and changes in rainfall.