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Dams in the North Sea to protect northern Europe from sea level rise

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  • Dams in the North Sea to protect northern Europe from sea level rise

Scientists have proposed a striking solution to protect coastal northern European countries from sea level rise, as a way to call attention to the magnitude of the threat of rising seas caused by climate change: damming the North Sea, informs The New York Times.

The scheme would entail building two giant dams bounding the North Sea. One would stretch about 300 miles between Norway to Scotland, and another one would stretch for 100 miles between northern France and south-eastern England. Together, they could protect tens of millions of people living on the coasts of more than a dozen countries in the North of Europe.

If carbon emissions continue to go up, by 2100 sea level rise could reach more than one meter

Experts, including the scientists behind this proposal, published in the American Journal of Meteorology, acknowledge that it is not an ideal solution to tackle sea level rise. Even so, the engineering feat is technically and financially feasible, at a cost of $250 billion to $550 billion, according to the authors. But most importantly, it can serve as a warning that illustrates that something very drastic would be necessary to deal with climate change if we don’t lower carbon emissions. As the article points out, ‘conceptualizing the scale of the solutions required to protect ourselves against global-mean sea level rise aids in our ability to acknowledge and understand the threat that sea level rise poses’.

Study co-author Joakim Kjellsson, from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, said: ‘In the end, we came to realize it’s such an extreme solution that it would be much better and much less dramatic to reduce our CO2 emissions and curb global warming so that we don’t need these kind of things’.

The other co-author, Sjoerd Groeskamp, from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research said if carbon emissions continue to go up, by 2100 sea level rise could reach more than one meter. Some coastal cities like San Francisco and Manila are already facing the consequences of sea level rise today, and by 2050, nonprofit Climate Central reports about 150 million people in coastal areas around the world could be below the high-tide level.

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