Science - November 24, 2005

Climate researchers in the news

Dutch climate research features in an article in Nature this week. Wageningen researchers will present their findings next week to the Dutch prime minister. A new research programme is due to start and a prestigious new research institute is also on the cards.

Professor Pavel Kabat of Alterra is scientific director of the government-funded Bsik research programme Climate for Space and co-author of a recent article in Nature that presents what the Dutch are already doing in the way of adaptations to climate change and why these innovations are urgently needed. He will present his programme’s research findings on Tuesday next week to the Dutch prime minister and the Secretary of State for Public Works and Water Management.

Earlier this year a member of the Upper House, Wolter Lemstra, submitted a motion that more needs to be done to adapt to the effects of climate change in the Netherlands. Echoing what the climate researchers have been saying for a long time, Lemstra is in favour of a long-term integral approach.

That the Dutch government is starting to take adaptation seriously is evidenced by the new research programme Adaptatie Ruimte en Klimaat (ARK, Space and Climate Adaptation), which has regrouped various budget allocations to form a fund of two hundred million euros. The initiative for the new programme came from Wageningen UR, and has received broad support from the Dutch government. The research will focus on a number of aspects, including calculating the social costs and benefits of investments in floating cities, floating greenhouses and the socio-economic effects of climate change.

Wageningen UR is also playing a leading role in setting up the new Institute for Advanced Societal Research (MTI) on Climate and Space. This institute will play a role in managing changes in land use and spatial planning that are introduced to adapt to global warming. The definitive plan for the institute is not yet ready. / MW

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