by Einar Du Rietz

The Dutch authorities would like us to know they are not sinking, at least not yet. The most recent report from Newsvine (quoting AFP) says:

“The Netherlands has asked the UN climate change panel to explain an inaccurate claim in a landmark 2007 report that more than half the country was below sea level, the Dutch government said Friday.

According to the Dutch authorities, only 26 percent of the country is below sea level, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be asked to account for its figures, environment ministry spokesman Trimo Vallaart told AFP.”

To avoid further misunderstandings, below sea level also does not mean being under water. The lowest place on earth, the Dead Sea, is surrounded by desert. Holland is one of the most crowded countries in the world, and has for centuries, in spite of the risky proximity to the sea combined with flatland, also been one of the most prosperous. Prosperity has helped to finance necessary precautions against the sea.

After this detail, the increasing Arctic ice, the resurrected polar bears and the miraculously constant Himalyan claciers, the IPCC report seems more and more like a house of cards. Maybe the loads of money pledged in Copenhagen should be changed into small coins before being thrown in the sea. It just might help a little to reach the sea level predictions.


  • Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.