Wetter winters and coastal erosion linked to climate change are having an impact on sports such as golf, football and cricket, a new report has claimed.
The report, published by campaign organisation The Climate Coalition, details the changes that have been seen due to the changing climate and measures taken by the sports to adapt.
While the impact climate change is having on the poorest parts of the world has been reported for some time, the findings in the report provide examples of changes being witnessed in the UK.
The report is being published as part of The Climate Coalition’s Show The Love campaign which celebrates things that we love but could lose to climate change – whether sports rained-off or natural beauty spots damaged by increased flooding.
The report, entitled Game Changer – How climate change is impacting sports in the UK, notes that in the Glasgow area alone, golf playing time in 2016-17 was reduced by 20 per cent compared to ten years before.
Professor Piers Forster, director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, said: “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.
“That, combined with rising sea levels and increased storm surges, means that climate change is already affecting the historic game of golf in its birthplace.
“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.”
Steve Isaac, director of golf course management at the sport’s governing body, The R&A, agreed with the report’s conclusions, saying: “There is no question it’s becoming a huge factor. I believe golf is more impacted by climate change than any other sport aside from skiing.
“We are feeling it now with increases in unplayable holes, winter course closures and disruption to professional tournaments. And the future threats are very real.”
Cricket is also badly affected, with 27 per cent of England’s home One Day Internationals being played with reduced overs since 2000 due to rain disruption and the rate of rain-affected matches doubling since 2011.
Bad weather has cost the England and Wales Cricket Board £1m in emergency grants during 2016 and £1.6m in 2017. The trend has forced the governing body to set aside £2.5m a year for to help recreational clubs keep playing.
Picture: A 2017 cricket match between Cravens Cavaliers and Lynton & Lynmouth Cricket Club at their ground based inside the Valley of Rocks, North Devon. (Ben Birchall/PA).