The Effect of Global Warming on The Netherlands

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On the coast of the North Sea, west of Germany and north of Belgium, sits the Netherlands. This country is best known for windmills, tulips, cheese and clogs, and for having Amsterdam as its capital. However, this country faces great risks as sea level rises. As the name may suggest, approximately half of the Netherlands lies less than one meter above sea level, and about an eighth of it actually lies below sea level, with the lowest city being at seven meters below (McKinney, 2007). Currently, a system of dams, dykes and dunes protect from flooding and storm surges, with 1-in-10,000 years protections (Butzengeiger & Horstmann, 2004). In other words, system failure would only happen once in 10,000 years. There is no telling when it will happen, or even if it will, but as sea levels rise due to global warming, the requirements for 1-in-10,000 flood protection will change, and the current system will gradually have less protection. Should the system be breached, many problems would arise, such as people being displaced from their homes, damage to infrastructure and agricultural lands, ...
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