Record rainfall and floods this summer make climate change very tangible in our country. Just like the drought and heat of previous years. The new report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change shows that warming is increasing and that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and larger. What we see now is a harbinger of what lies ahead in terms of intense rainfall, river drainage, sea level rise, heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and epidemics that threaten nature and humans. The intensity and amount of recent extreme weather events around the world are coming faster than expected, and so are many climate experts.
Of course, the energy transition is being worked on and emissions from agriculture are being discussed. To adapt, we need thermal plans and delta software. But are we doing the right thing and doing it fast enough?
Mitigating climate change as proposed at EU level through the Green Deal is by far the most urgent action. Only a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would be able to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. This potentially prevents global social upheaval. For perspective: What we’re seeing now are the effects of 1.2 degrees of warming. Many greenhouse gases are already in the air and will continue to act for many years to come. Adaptation to climate change is inevitable.
The Netherlands is on the front line with climate change, with large rivers, a long coastline, and large and valuable portions below sea level. Now it is important to respond aggressively administratively. The Delta Software “review” published last year provides preliminary guidance. The report first completes work on the embankments and space for the river, but later speaks with “a great sense of turbulence” about the long run and about the ineffective decentralized approach to spatial adjustments. Climate change “requires a far-reaching spatial transition and this transition is made more difficult by many other spatial claims such as the task of housing, the energy transition, addressing the agricultural crisis, and Plans for new infrastructure.
In Arnhem, a new residential area is being planned in the floodplain
But in practice we have become more vulnerable. A new residential area is being planned in Arnhem in the floodplain, and the South Holland wants to build in the deepest of Boulder. Municipalities and provinces give permission for plans that will later cost the community (and residents!) We can better use the time left to achieve synergies with (spatial) developments such as energy transition, biodiversity tasks and infrastructure maintenance.
We have three letters.
FirstThe use of space must be managed at the national level. Internationally, we like to flaunt the Netherlands’ image as the “best protected delta”. This can only be sustained if we make a management choice and link short-term investments to the question of how to adapt in the long term and reduce greenhouse gas emissions: in which places do certain spatial functions (housing, nature, agriculture, infrastructure, etc.) energy supply) in the future . This should be done at the national level.
SecondlyCitizens should be involved in discussing problems and solutions. We lack the institutional environment that provides citizens with useful information so that they can form their own judgments. He. She ‘Tell the truth to powerThe model of experts giving advice to government is socially outdated. Then officials hide behind misunderstood statements about scientific uncertainty.
ThirdStrengthening research is critical to clarifying what is necessary and feasible in time with the regulation of our country. We have to organize this research in collaboration with those involved, to get much needed support and local knowledge and creativity can be included.
It will not be easy because accelerating the energy transition and adapting in time to climate change will require decisions that require a review of old plans and ambitions that were evident at the time. This requires courage from administrators and citizens. Administrators will have to take responsibility, citizens must realize that the future looks different from the past and scientists must explore solutions and collaborate more than before with citizens and spatial administrators.
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