Friday, June 5, 2009

Rotterdam Climate Proof



Author: Dipesh Dey

Rotterdam Climate Proof (RCP) program paints an outline of how Rotterdam intends to adapt to climate change, not just as a matter of survival, but also to take a huge leap forward to the market of the future. In short, RCP is helping the Netherland government build a city and port that is protected, attractive and economically competitive.

The initiative includes Rotterdam City Council, the Port of Rotterdam (the largest in the European continent) and Deltalinqs. The member of RCP have a common target of a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2025 compared with 1990 levels. This is the percentage needed if the Netherlands as a country is to be able to comply with the European proposal for a 30% cut in emissions by 2025.

The consequences of climate change for the city

The city of Rotterdam is faced by a unique threat of being at the junction point, where from all 4 directions flood water come pouring in as the temperature of the planet increases – rain from top, groundwater surge from bottom, sea water from left and river water from the right.
According to Kwadijk et al. (2006)*, the following climate change effects will take place:
1. larger number of heatwaves (very probable).
2. decrease in air quality during heatwaves (very probable).
3. larger consumption of electricity in the summer (very probable).
4. increase in the frequency of cold-water restrictions (very probable).
5. higher levels of river discharge in winter and therefore greater likelihood of floods (very probable).
6. more frequent occurrence of flooding in urban areas (probable)
7. increase in wind speed during gales (fifty-fifty).

Climate scenarios show an increase in wind speeds, but the increase will be small and fall easily within the current variation of wind speeds from year to year. Kwadijk et al. (2006)*, conclude that the climate in the Netherlands in 2050 will resemble the current climate in Bordeaux of France (in spring, summer and autumn) and that of the Po Valley of Italy (in winter).
Outline of RCP: The three mainstays

1. Knowledge
Knowledge development and sharing; adaptation strategy for areas outside protection by dunes and dikes; cooperation between knowledge institutions; international knowledge exchange on delta management; laboratory-based innovations about climate and water and heat stress research.
2. Action
implementation of Rotterdam Waterplan 2; accelerated implementation of green roofs, reduction in tax for having with a green roof and subsidies; bulding water plazas; adaptive constructions – water safety and water storage; reducing heat stress and air pollution measures.
3. Marketing
Communication and marketing; knowledge-based marketing network; water and climate events; World Water Forum 2009 entry; entry in World Water Expo Shanghai for Best Urban Practices 2010; climate and water campus.
* J. Kwadijk, F. Klijn and M. van Drunen (2006). Climate proofing the Netherlands: baseline, WL, Delft Hydraulics, www.programmaark.nl, 94 pp.

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