Back ground Programme

The Earth has warmed by 0.6 degrees over the last 100 years. Most of this is due to the influence of human activities such as the use of fossil fuels. Measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions are initiated at an international level, though the inherent inertia of the Earth system means that, even in the case of radical emission reductions, significant climate change is still considered unavoidable.

Dutch governmental organisations and businesses need to incorporate climate change impacts into their long term decision making. Decision makers need to know which effects will take place where, as well as the probability of such effects occurring. Scientists possess knowledge about climate change, its effects and the way in which organisations can manage this. Decision makers have experience in making feasible and achievable strategies though they have a need both for applied scientific knowledge and knowledge about practical policy implementation.

Climate change and the role of human activities reached the top of the international agenda in a very short space of time at the end of the 1980s. Since then, international agreements have been made and are still being developed concerning emission restrictions. However, the time lag effect of the climate system means that, even if emission restrictions are successful, significant climate change is unavoidable. It is therefore particularly important that the Netherlands is able to adjust soon to the effects of climate change, being a densely populated country vulnerable to the effects of climate change. There are three important reasons why timely investment in adaptation measures is important to the Netherlands:

    • to prevent the damage caused by climate change becoming uncontrollable
    • to increase the return from investments in spatial planning and infrastructure
    • because of the social importance of innovative and attractive solutions

Knowledge for Climate focused primarily on knowledge and knowledge organisation for climate proofing the Netherlands. The programme also aimed for transforming the vulnerability of the Netherlands into an opportunity, an opportunity to make the Netherlands more resistant to climate change and to use the accompanying knowledge and experience gained to attract businesses to the Netherlands and to improve the export position in climate and delta technology.

Read the research program brochure.