50 million for climate study centre

9th July 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 July 2007, AMSTERDAM (AP) - The Netherlands has earmarked EUR 50 million over the next five years for a new climate change centre, the government said Friday.

9 July 2007

AMSTERDAM (AP) - The Netherlands has earmarked EUR 50 million over the next five years for a new climate change centre, the government said Friday.

The think tank will study what needs to be done to prepare the country for the effects of climate change. The Netherlands already spends more than EUR 1 billion annually to maintain and improve the intricate network of dikes and dunes that protect it from flooding.

With two-thirds of the population living below sea level and others at risk from overflowing rivers in the Rhine and Maas deltas, the Dutch are bracing for more torrential rains and rising sea levels predicted by climate models as a result of global warming.

The new centre will draw on expertise from the country's main technical universities, government ministries, the weather service, water boards and other organisations. It will not only vet preparations for the threat of flooding, but also consider other consequences of higher temperatures, abrupt droughts and more intense storms.

"All these things will have big consequences for humans and nature and for the way in which we have organised our country," the Cabinet said in a statement after its weekly meeting.

"To make these concrete, the centre will develop knowledge for a number of 'hotspots'."

It cited as examples the area around The Hague, where local governments and businesses such as greenhouses must work together to prepare to absorb sudden influxes of water; and Schiphol Airport and the Port of Rotterdam, which must prepare for rises in water levels and changes in prevailing weather patterns.

"In particular, we'll be looking for measures that will improve the resilience of these regions in relation to extreme weather, in both economic and ecological terms," the statement said.

Details of where the new centre will be located and when it will open will be released along with the country's 2008 budget in September, Environment Minister Jaqueline Cramer said, according to Dutch media. Friday's announcement was made in order to coincide with the "Live Earth" concerts scheduled around the world this weekend, the Cabinet said.

The centre will seek to exchange expertise and information with other climate-sensitive delta areas such as New Orleans and Taiwan.

"This is not just about scenarios for precipitation and temperature, but also information about river drainage, wave power and changes in ecological circumstances," it said.

[Copyright AP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

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