Skip to main content

The Scottish Drought

Scottish distilleries have revealed that during last year’s heatwave, they had to halt production because they ran out of water. In a summer marked by high temperatures and little rainfall, water levels in springs and rivers fell so low that in the Scottish Highlands some whisky makers missed up to a month’s production.

“We lost the whole of September,” said Callum Fraser of the family-run Glenfarclas distillery on the River Spey. While some whisky makers take their water from the river, Glenfarclas – which means “valley of the green grass” – has its own private water supply. “It’s a natural spring, and it was dry,” said Fraser.
The month’s pause saw Glenfarclas production down by up to 300,000 litres, he added. Rumours abound of other distilleries seeing similar problems. “We weren’t the only one, just the most vocal,” he added.
Further south near Pitlochry, the Edradour distillery lost a few days’ production last year for lack of water. Its owner, Andrew Symington, said the neighbouring river runs visibly lower each year. Edradour now plans to install costly cooling towers to mitigate the effect of lack of water in the future.
The prolonged heat and longer dry spell meant even Scotland – known for soggy and temperate summers – had to cope with drought. Grasses stopped growing, which meant the Highland Games had to be cancelled, and wildfires spread in places they’d never previously been seen.
At some points last summer the Spey was running 97% lower than its normal minimum, and this winter has not brought enough rain to replenish it. “The water table hasn’t recovered yet, so it’ll be this year we see the full effect,” said Fraser. “We’ve still not had real rain yet.”
Experts fear that last year’s conditions may not be unusual in future. This week the environment agency is hosting a “drought summit” in London with water company bosses, as fears grow over similar temperatures this summer. Research has shown that last summer’s heatwave was made about 30 times more likely by the human-caused climate emergency. Some estimate that such heatwaves could be happening every other year by 2050 if emissions continue to increase.
Helen Gavin, who researches climate breakdown and drought at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, said such extreme events place stress on the environment and the economy. “There’s an impact already,” she said. “It’s not just hot and dry summers, but strange weather like we’ve just had – 18C in February, that’s just weird. And that messes up biological and agricultural cycles.” Gavin added, which first affects crop yields, then the cost of production and thus the price paid by consumers. “And it means if we take more water from the environment to try and save whisky, a farmer’s crop, or so we can still turn on the taps, it comes at a huge cost.”
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jun/02/scotland-whisky-climate-crisis-heatwave-distilleries-halt-production

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What do we mean by no leaders

"Where are the leaders and what are their demands?" will be the question puzzled professional politicians and media pundits will be asking when the Revolution comes. They will find it inconceivable that a socialist movement could survive without an elite at the top. This view will be shared by some at the bottom. Lenin and his Bolshevik cohorts argued that we couldn't expect the masses to become effective revolutionaries spontaneously, all on their own. To achieve liberation they needed the guidance of a "vanguard party" comprised of an expert political leadership with a clear programme. The Trotskyist/Leninist Left may remix the song over and over again all they want but the tune remains the same: leaders and the cadres of the vanguard can find the answer; the mass movements of the people cannot liberate themselves. The case for leadership is simple. Most working-class people are too busy to have opinions or engage in political action. There’s a need for some…

Lenin and the Myth of 1917

A myth pervades that 1917 was a 'socialist' revolution rather it was the continuation of the capitalist one. What justification is there, then, for terming the upheaval in Russia a Socialist Revolution? None whatever beyond the fact that the leaders in the November movement claim to be Marxian Socialists. M. Litvinoff practically admits this when he says:In seizing the reigns of power the Bolsheviks were obviously playing a game with high stake. Petrograd had shown itself entirely on their side. To what extent would the masses of the proletariat and the peasant army in the rest of the country support them?”This is a clear confession that the Bolsheviks themselves did not know the views of the mass when they took control. At a subsequent congress of the soviets the Bolsheviks had 390 out of a total of 676. It is worthy of note that none of the capitalist papers gave any description of the method of electing either the Soviets or the delegates to the Congress. And still more cu…

Things are changing

We want no condescending saviours to rule us from a judgment hall. The Socialist Party is a Marxian party. That is to say, we base our outlook on history and economics on the theoretical researches of Karl Marx. On the basis of Marxian economics, we have pointed out that there is no solution for booms and slumps as long as capitalism lasts. That booms and slumps are inevitable products of capitalism and will always be a part of it. We accept the fact that there is a class struggle in society—but that its solution lies in the hands of the workers to take political action for the establishment of socialism when they understood and want it. Consequently, we have put forward candidates in the parliamentary and local elections for the purpose of taking control out of the hands of our capitalist rulers in order to clear the way for the establishment of socialism. We hold that all people in the world, regardless of colour or nationality, are capable of understanding socialism and its implic…