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Northern European Enclosure Dam (NEED)

Topics Covered: Disaster management.

Northern European Enclosure Dam (NEED)

What to study?

For Prelims: NEED- features and geographical location.

For Mains: Need for, significance, challenges involved and issues of feasibility.

Norway

Context: A mammoth Northern European Enclosure Dam (NEED) has been proposed to protect millions of people and important economic regions of 15 Northern European Countries from rising seas as a result of climate change.

About the proposed dam:

Two dams of a combined length of 637 km will be constructed.

  • First dam will be built between northern Scotland and western Norway, measuring 476 km and with an average depth of 121 m and maximum depth of 321 m.
  • The second dam will be built between France and southwestern England, of length 161 km, and average depth of 85 m and maximum depth of 102 m.

Costs involved:

Researchers have estimated the total costs associated with NEED at between €250 billion and €550 billion. If construction is spread over a 20-year period, this will work out to an annual expense of around 0.07%-0.16% of the GDP of the 15 Northern European countries that will be involved.

Implications:

The construction will “heavily impact” marine and terrestrial ecosystems inside and outside the enclosure, will have social and cultural implications, and affect tourism and fisheries.

Need for such measures:

  • Such protection efforts are required if mitigation efforts fail to limit sea level rise.
  • And, separating the North and Baltic Seas from the Atlantic Ocean may be the “most viable option” to protect Northern Europe against unstoppable sea level rise (SLR).
  • While NEED may appear to be “overwhelming” and “unrealistic”, it could be “potentially favourable” financially and in scale when compared with alternative solutions to fight SLR.

Way ahead:

Such mega-enclosures could potentially be considered in other regions of the world, including the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Irish Sea, and the Red Sea.

Sources: Indian Express.