Northern European Enclosure Dam (NEED)
A vast dam across the entrances to the North Sea could theoretically protect Europeans against sea level rise as the planet warms. To give effect, the Scientists from Germany and Netherlands have proposed the construction of the Northern European Enclosure Dam (NEED).
• A dam between the North-East of Scotland and the west of Norway (476Km) and another one between the west point of France and the southwest coast of England (161Km) are part of NEED.
• NEED will separate the North Sea and Baltic Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. At various points of the barrier large water pumps have to be fixed to flow out water that currently flows in the North Sea to the other side of dam i.e.- Atlantic Ocean.
• It would protect more than 25 million Europeans residing in coastal areas from migration and against the consequences of an expected sea level rise over the next few centuries.
• Cost: It is projected that NEED costs around 250-500 billion euros which are 0.1% of the gross national product, annually over 20 years, of all the countries that would be protected by such a dam.
• Challenge: Crossing the Norwegian trench and building the physical structure in moving water will pose visible constructional challenges. Further this project will have adverse consequences on the marine and terrestrial ecosystem in irreversible way. EU as a political body is declining and consensus building between land locked countries and coastal countries will remain a puzzle.
• Sea level rise is a slow but unstoppable process. It would result into unprecedented loss of physical places, Cultural sites, economic hubs, and ecological systems. For example-Indonesia is also shifting its capital Jakarta.
• Climate Change initiatives like UNFCCC, Paris Accord, and several other initiatives remain unchecked and doubtful. For instance- An optimistic prediction by IPCC states that sea level will rise between 30 to 60 Cm. by 2100, if the pledge under Paris Accord are met. However, there is disagreement at global level on the implementation of the Paris accord. It can be cited that these initiatives have delivered sub-optimal results and failed to give timely response to the adverse impacts of climate change. This forced countries to take region specific initiatives in Adaptation domain.
• Climate change is posing the threat of migration and displacement of communities which eventually resulted in livelihood loss and loss of Nation Income Ultimately. This trend will escalate the socio-politico tension. For instance- In case of Pre-NEED, the Land locked EU National will be affected more because they have to share the burden of climate refugees (coastal migration) from another region of the EU.
• Analysis of Social Cost of Climate Change (NEED as a Case Study)
Pre-NEED Problems Post-NEED hopes
• Coastal people would be forced to migrate.
• Respective Governments have to arrange for alternatives in terms of Social-political-economic aspect.
• At some point it will cause politico-Socio instabilities.
• The changes in demography will further escalate the tension.
• If the global mitigation effort remains unchecked, it would enhance the problem of climate change which can cause a drastic impact on Ecosystem and it will take a huge cost to reverse the changes. • No migration due to the threat of Climate Change.
• There will be no drastic change in demography.
• Such a project seems to be a problem rather than a solution because it may induce human led disasters which might prove devastating in an unprecedented way for all related ecosystems including human settlement.
• It provides short term measures only and involves huge cost.
• As Climate change is becoming a reality, majority of countries give preference to ‘adaptation’ initiatives (build resilient infrastructure) overmitigation strategies advocated by global bodies and which are focussed on elimination of GHG.
Visible Impacts of NEED
The tide motion in a large part of the North Sea along with the transport pattern of silt and nutrients mixing will be severely affected.
The North Sea would eventually become a freshwater lake (If walled). That will drastically change the ecosystem and therefore have an impact on the fishing industry and entire marine ecosystem species.
The maritime industry will likely be affected by sea level rise as and when ports are forced to relocate or be upgraded with protectionist measures.
NEED will increase the cost for shipping, cause adverse impact on wildlife and biodiversity, shift global oceanic circulation which could affect weather patterns.
Global initiatives for climate change are derailed now for instance- USA’s withdrawal from Paris Accord, Under-Funding to UN. The world has wasted precious time, after a decade of procrastination on climate change. The dictum ‘Common but differentiated responsibility’ is understated by majority of developed countries. This resulted into growing disagreement over the fund allocation and strategies to mitigate the impact of climate change. Thus it creates a vacuum for ‘integrated approach’ to fight climate change. There is a dire need to adopt integrated and streamlined effort in order to fight Climate Change for both developed and developing countries or else the fate of coastal nations will create a variety of problems for land locked countries. Our most urgent task today is to persuade nations of the need to return to multilateralism.