It’s impossible to know what it will be, but there will be something. It could be a massive storm, a devastating flood or a lethal heatwave.

There will be disturbing images too: drowning children, collapsing ice cliffs or staggering and starving polar bears perhaps. And, of course, there will be the deniers saying it’s all a myth.

In one way or another climate change will feature big in 2018. Each time an unusually destructive weather event hits, the arguments will run. Is carbon dioxide pollution from burning fossil fuels to blame, and what should we do about it?

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Investments in coal, oil and gas technologies will be questioned, our dependence on cars challenged and our high-energy, high-waste consumer lifestyles put under scrutiny. Is the way we live actually sustainable?

The President of the United States, assuming he’s still in office, will take one view - the wrong one - and most of the rest of the world will take another view, the right one. In Scotland ministers will say that their targets to cut climate pollution are world-leading, and environmentalists will push them to go further.

The battle lines have already been drawn. The Scottish Government is currently committed to reducing carbon emissions 90 per cent by 2050, but campaigners want the target to be zero, and by 2040.

They argue this is essential if Scotland wants to live up to the 2015 international Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. “Doing our fair share under the Paris deal would mean we reduce emissions to zero by 2040, along with a 77 per cent cut by 2030,” said Dr Richard Dixon, director of Friends of the Earth Scotland.

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has yet to commit herself. She has promised that her government would be “coming to an early decision on when we will aim to reach net zero emissions”. The debates in 2018 will be over what the date should be.

Another key environmental argument will be over fish farming. Two Holyrood committees are planning an in-depth investigation into the industry, which wants to double its business from £1.8 billion in 2016 to £3.6 billion by 2030.

But fish farms around the coast have been plagued with problems, including sea lice, disease and mishaps, often leading to mass mortalities. The industry has admitted to having to throw away up to ten million salmon in 2016, a quarter of its stock.

A series of revelations in the Sunday Herald have also uncovered the so-called ‘Slicegate’ scandal. Documents released under freedom of information law have shown how the Scottish Environment Protection Agency dropped a plan to ban a toxic fish farm pesticide known as Slice after pressure from the industry and government.

MSPs on the environment and rural economy committee will be furiously lobbied by all sides of the argument, and will have to sift multiple facts and myths. Their job is important, but it will not be easy.

The age-old clash between development and conservation will also be re-run in many forms next year. Communities will oppose new housing estates, waste plants and wind farms, and definitions of what’s really in the national interest will widely differ.

As often happens, one particularly controversial development may grab the headlines and characterise the arguments. In 2018 this could be the escalating fight over whether or not to allow a US developer to build a golf course on an endangered system of sand dunes at Coul Links on the Sutherland coast.

The development is backed by some residents, and opposed by others. It has business support, but is opposed by every major environmental organisation. It is shaping up into a major confrontation - and the outcome is very difficult to predict.

Watch this space, as they say.