Response of Delta Commissioner Peter Glas to UN climate report

The UN Climate Panel today presented its second report on the consequences of climate change. Delta Commissioner Peter Glas: “We are on the wrong road as a planet and we must pull out all the stops to move ahead faster on tackling the causes and managing the effects of climate change. This new report from the UN Climate Panel shows unequivocally that climate change is increasingly manifest in torrential rainstorms, heat waves, droughts and floods, and sea level rise. Moreover, the process is accelerating and the consequences are more far-reaching than previously anticipated."

"Extreme weather with the associated heat waves, floods and drought has always been with us but climate change will increase the frequency and intensity," Glas continues. "Without additional measures, the consequences for infrastructure, food supplies, ecosystems and life in our cities will result in more damage and victims."

In the report, the climate scientists stress that cutting carbon emissions and limiting warming to no more than 1.5 degrees continues to be essential. At the same time, the UN climate panel’s new report concludes that we must also speed up our global response in order to adapt to the effects of climate change. Given the current levels of greenhouse gas emissions, our options to adapt effectively are diminishing and climate scientists believe there will be less and less time to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all. 

The report indicates that more than 3.5 billion people worldwide could be affected by the effects of climate change. Urban and coastal areas are particularly vulnerable. The combination of sea level rise, storm surges, higher river discharges and flooding during peak rains can inflict increasing damage and result in more victims here.

For the Netherlands, the report confirms the need to speed up the Delta Programme with measures to protect the Netherlands against climate change into the more distant future, according to Peter Glas. “The Netherlands is one of the safest deltas in the world but it is also vulnerable. This IPCC report supports the Dutch approach with the Delta Programme in which we have adopted an adaptive approach, looking far ahead and collaborating with the various parties and sectors, with robust financing from the Delta Fund. At the same time, this report makes it clear once again that it is a good thing that the new government is making an additional commitment to climate adaptation in the coalition agreement. If we want to be able to continue living here in the long term in a water-secure and sustainable way, then we must look carefully at where and how we build, and earmark enough space in advance to stop the water, absorb it, and drain it away where necessary.”