Given that the Netherlands Delta Works projects only protect sea rises up to 40 centimeters, this leaves the country prone to 44 centimeters of unprotected sea rise. Due to climate change, the IPCC numbers represent an increased estimation of 10 centimeters since its last report in 2013. Additionally, the report concludes that the annual worldwide sea level rise has increased to 3.6 millimeters.
Should this trajectory continue, by 2300, sea levels will increase by 4 meters with the only solution seen as an immediate cut to greenhouse gas emissions.
“An increase of 2 meters in 2100 is not at all unlikely. This means that we have relatively little time for major necessary adjustments. Larger than the Delta Works that we have been building for 30 years. They increased the protection of the Netherlands by 40 centimeters,” says Deltares researcher Marjolijn Haasnoot.
The IPCC warns the “low-risk tolerance” countries like the Netherlands, “Precisely because the increase can go very quickly, it is wise to take timely adaptive measures. That means that you have to think in time about, for example, extra space for wider dikes or much more sand replenishment for the coast to be able to guarantee safety and freshwater supplies.”