Friday 18 September 2020

‘This low-lying country should defend itself’: report warns of sea level rises

A new report by independent water research institute Deltaris is warning that sea levels are rising more quickly than previously foreseen and measures must be taken.

According to the researchers sea levels could rise by as much as one to two meters in 2100 if the earth’s temperature goes up by two degrees. If that figure is doubled, the North Sea could rise by three meters, and by eight meters in another century.

‘We may need up to twenty times the amount of sand we are using now, which is 12 million cubic meters,’ Deltares researcher Marjolijn Haasnoot told broadcaster NOS.

Haasnoot said the storm surge barriers will need to be closed more often and maintenance work will have to take place earlier. ‘The question is not by how much sea levels will rise but how much time we have to prepare,’Haasnoot said.

The Netherlands has a plan in place to cope with the effects of climate change called the Delta programme and every year on budget day Delta commissioner Wim Kuijken sends MPs a report of what needs to be done .

This year the recommendations include a national programme to combat soil subsidence, building guidelines to protect buildings from extreme weather and more research into water and climate.


The effects of a possible acceleration of rising sea levels will be felt from 2050 at its earliest, researchers said, and the livability of the delta will be guaranteed until that time. After that, NOS writes, uncertainties abound.

Much will depend on limiting CO2 emissions worldwide, as laid down in the Paris climate accord, and the melting of the ice in the Antarctic. Earlier research by weather bureau KNMI predicted no more than a one meter rise in sea levels this century but the Greenland ice sheet and Antarctic will possibly melt at a faster rate.

‘We need to defend the coast in case sea levels rise but the main thing is to keep global warming down to under 2% and then this low-lying country can defend itself in a controlled manner,’ Kuijken told NOS.

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