Sooner or later, every administrator will have to deal with climate adaptation. After all, climate change is affecting the entire spectrum of our society. Whatever policy domain is your responsibility, you will need to take increasing account of the direct and indirect impacts of climate change. In concrete terms, the following trends can be observed:
- Waterlogging: it is becoming wetter
- Heat: it is becoming warmer
- Drought: it is becoming drier
- Urban flooding: the sea level and river levels are rising
We need to design our villages, cities, and rural areas in such a manner that we are prepared for the future climate. We call this spatial adaptation.
Adaptation to climate change does not just call for specific policies, such as dyke improvement; above all, it is essential to factor in the new climate in all the other policy fields. In many cases, this can be achieved by “linkage” with interventions that have already been scheduled and with new policy to be developed. This opens up a huge pool of opportunities. For example, incorporating climate adaptation into the design of new housing developments or into the (spatial) changes entailed in the energy transition. Furthermore, the new Environment Act plays a key role in embedding climate adaptation in spatial policy. Climate adaptation ambitions will have to be anchored in the environmental visions.
In the field of climate adaptation, two major policy programmes have been set up in the Netherlands: the National Adaptation Strategy and the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation. The National Climate Adaptation Strategy (NAS) visualises how climate change is affecting our society and thus your policy field. Take a look at the NAS conceptual diagrams: these reflect the impact of climate change on nine sectors, based on the four climate trends. The conceptual diagrams have been an eye-opener for many: they show more than 125 actual and identifiable climate effects.
Municipalities, district water boards, provinces, and the national government are collaborating under the Delta Plan on Spatial Adaptation, a component of the National Delta Programme. Its goal is to embed climate adaptation in policy by 2020 and being climate-proof by 2050.
In concrete terms, the governments are working on seven ambitions. The ambitions are also outlined in the Delta Programme 2019.
Figure: 7 ambitions to render the Netherlands water-resilient and climate-proof.
The Climate Impact Atlas shows at a glance how the four climate trends will be manifesting themselves in your area by 2050. The Climate Impact Atlas dates from 2010 and is continuously developed further on the basis of the latest insights provided by research institutes. Among other things, the tool is used as the basis for conducting stress tests, thus substantiating ambition no. 1: mapping out vulnerabilities. This page (in Dutch) provides more information on ambition no. 2: conducting risk dialogues and drawing up strategies.