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New Climate Alert: "Low Country" Netherlands Facing Major Sea-Level Rise

The Dutch meteorological institute has released an alarming report in a country that is particularly prone to flooding.

New Climate Alert: "Low Country" Netherlands Facing Major Sea-Level Rise

Underwater city center in South Limburg

Meike Eijsberg

In its native Dutch language, the Netherlands is called Nederland, which means "low countries" and for good reason: approximately one-quarter of the coastal nation is below sea level, and more than half is susceptible to flooding.

This makes, even more, alarming a new report of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) that sea levels off the Dutch coast will rise between 1.2 and 2.0 meters by the end of this century if the planet does not succeed in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Dutch national broadcaster NOS reported this week.


The expected sea level rise is an upward revision, as the institute had previously concluded that the maximum sea level rise would be one meter. The updated findings, released just days before the opening of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, are based on the latest report by the UN climate panel IPCC.

Royals visit those affected by floods in the Netherlands

Utrecht Robin/Abaca via ZUMA

COP26: Northern Europe to Caribbean

According to Steven van Weyenberg, the State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management, "the urgency had been underestimated. The climate crisis is already with us," Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports.

The rising sea level is not the only risk mentioned in the report; so is the increase in dangerous weather events. Responding to these changes must become a top priority of the government, says Rogier van der Sande, chairman of the Union of Waterboards, an association of 21 governmental boards that govern regional water management in the Netherlands.

A sense of urgency

Van der Sande pointed to major flooding this summer in Limburg, North Holland and Friesland regions to show that "extreme weather is already causing problems today."

De Volkskrant newspaper also mentioned the report's research on the Caribbean islands that are special territories of the Netherlands, where the strength of hurricanes will increase.

This same risk also applies to small neighboring countries and other island nations that tend to have more at stake (and risk) in the upcoming COP26 talks, but less political power. For Dutch meteorological expert, Sybren Drijfhout, the summit cannot be another missed chance to make bold choices: "I hope the countries have this sense of urgency when they gather in Glasgow for the climate summit."

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Society

End Of Roe v. Wade, The World Is Watching

As the Supreme Court decides to overturn the 1973 decision that guaranteed abortion rights, many fear an imminent threat to abortion rights in the U.S. But in other countries, the global fight for sexual and reproductive rights is going in different directions.

"Don't abort my right" At 2019 pro-choice march In Toulouse, France.

Alain Pitton/NurPhoto via ZUMA
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank and Sophia Constantino

PARIS — Nearly 50 years after it ensured the right to abortion to Americans, the United States Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case, meaning that millions of women in the U.S. may lose their constitutional right to abortion.

The groundbreaking decision is likely to set off a range of restrictions on abortion access in multiple states in the U.S., half of which are expected to implement new bans on the procedure. Thirteen have already passed "trigger laws" that will automatically make abortion illegal.

U.S. President Joe Biden called the ruling "a tragic error" and urged individual states to enact laws to allow the procedure.

In a country divided on such a polarizing topic, the decision is likely to cause major shifts in American law and undoubtedly spark outrage among the country’s pro-choice groups. Yet the impact of such a momentous shift, like others in the United States, is also likely to reverberate around the world — and perhaps, eventually, back again in the 50 States.

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