Climate change threatens future of popular sports

Wetter winters and coastal erosion are threatening the future of numerous sporting events in the UK, according to a new report. Golf could be particularly hard hit.

Extreme weather linked to climate change is threatening the future of numerous sports in the UK, a new report has warned.

The report highlights that golf could be particularly hard hit. Climate change is causing more courses to be closed more often and for longer periods.

In the Glasgow area, 2016 and 2017 saw a 20 per cent reduction in playing time compared to ten years earlier, according to a statement. Only a small increase in sea-level rise would jeopardize all of the world’s links courses by 2100.

“We’ve seen six of the seven wettest years on record since 2000 and record-breaking wet winters in 2014 and 2016 with 150 per cent of the normal rainfall,” commented Professor Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate, which contributed to the ‘Game Changer’ report.

He added: “Without cutting the carbon emissions driving climate change, sea levels will rise by over a metre and extremely wet winters will become the norm. Many aspects of our lives including the game of golf would struggle to adapt to such a changed world.”

One of the oldest golf courses in the world, Montrose, has been badly affected. In the last 30 years, the North Sea has advanced 70 metres towards the course, forcing the course to realign some holes and abandon others.

Another sport that could be affected is cricket. Since 2000, 27 per cent of England’s home One Day Internationals have been played with reduced overs due to rain disruptions. The rate of rain-affected matches has doubled since 2011.

The report also highlights the impact of climate change on football. The impact is particularly acute at grassroots level where the average club is losing five weeks every season due to bad weather, explained the statement.

The report is being published as part of The Climate Coalition’s ‘Show The Love’ campaign, which celebrates all that we love but could lose to climate change.

Tanya Steele, CEO of WWF and a member of The Climate Coalition, commented in the statement: “Climate change won’t leave any aspect of our lives untouched, even the sports we love. Our report shows that golf, football and cricket – three sports at the heart of British culture – will all be irrevocably changed.”

Photo credit: Sandy Stevenson/ CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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