No excuse for inaction
In a time of unprecedented awareness of climate change, scientists, policymakers and practitioners have gathered in the World Trade Center in Rotterdam for the second 'Deltas in Times of Climate Change' conference. The mood of the proceedings so far can be summed up as follows: There is no plan B, because there is no planet B, as Ban Ki Moon pointed out just yesterday at the UN Climate Summit in New York.
University of Oxford’s Professor Myles Allen opened the proceedings with a compelling presentation on the state of affairs in climate science and a running theme in the speeches that followed was a firm call to action: 'Climate change makes a bad day worse. We need carbon capture and storage to meet the two degree goal. The Dutch can play a leading role here by contributing to the development of the required technologies and working with others to build the experience we all need.'
Speaker after speaker noted in various ways that adaptation is about smart planning, about building with nature and, perhaps most importantly, about communicating in order to involve ordinary citizens and other stakeholders. Minister for Infrastructure and the Environment Schultz van Haegen noted that the 'worlds of knowledge and practice have to work together. It is not only about keeping the water out, but about making smarter deltas.'
The sense of urgency was also palapable in the speech by Cynthia Villar, Senator of the Republic of the Philippines, where she is Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food. That sense of urgency will come as no surprise to those who know that the Philippines are already being impacted quite heavily by climate change. As Senator Villar put it, 'For us there is no choice but to build with nature. We don’t have the money for expensive dikes and dams.'
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- Welcome by Pier Vellinga, chair of the conference (video)
- Welcome by Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam (video)
- Opening by Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment (speech, video)
- Prof. Myles Allen, Quantifying hazard in a changing climate: Long-term trends and changing weather, University of Oxford, United Kingdom (video)
- Yolanda Kakabadse (Ecuador), WWF International President (video)
- Prof. Chris Rapley, University College London, United Kingdom, Bridging the gap: Organising and communicating climate resilience (video)
- Bart Parmet, Staff Delta Programme Commissioner, the Netherlands, Dutch Delta Approach
- Tineke Huizinga, Delta Alliance, the Netherlands, A global network for the resilience of deltas
- Humberto Delgado Rosa, DG Climate Action, European Commission
- Cynthia Villar, Senator of the Republic of the Philippines (video)
- >> video panel discussion