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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gas grab and global warming could wipe out Wadden Sea heritage site

Gas grab and global warming could wipe out Wadden Sea heritage site

The world’s largest unbroken intertidal system of sand and mud flats could sink beneath the waves by the end of the century due to sea level rise and subsidence caused by gas drills funded by Barclays and other international banks.

The Unesco world heritage site at the Wadden Sea on the Dutch coast stretches over 10,000 sq km. Its saltmarshes, sandy shoals, dunes and mussel beds host millions of migratory birds every year, as well as thousands of basking seals.

But the storm-weathered Frisian coastline may be living on borrowed time. One report this month predicted that it would be submerged by 2100 if current global warming trends and planned gas extractions continue.

“It is more likely that the area will drown than that it will survive,” said Rolf Schuttenhelm, the paper’s author. “The equation is quite simple. If sea level rise and subsidence combined are larger than the maximum speed of sedimentation – and they are – then with time, the drowning of the tidal system becomes inevitable.”

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