Demonstration projects and adequate information should help to remove any reservations people may have about climate buffers, and increase their sense of security. Careful decision making procedures are crucial in designating areas for natural climate buffers. It is also important to clarify and emphasize the additional benefits of natural climate buffers. Experiences gained in climate buffer projects along the major rivers and in the Wadden Sea and Biesbosch National Parks can be shared with the public to illustrate these benefits.
Climate policy is still in its infancy. The Dutch National Ecological Network (EHS), a system of nature reserves and natural areas interconnected by ecological corridors, has no climate-related objectives; climate buffers are no part of it. In fact, natural climate buffers will not always be compatible with the nature conservation objectives of the EHS, because some buffers will be used intensively by humans and have poor water quality. At the same time, nature (and natural climate buffers) needs space and ecological corridors to survive the negative effects of climate change. An explicitly spatial policy for climate buffers is therefore most urgently needed.
Costs and means
The benefits of natural climate buffers outweigh the costs, especially when all the economic benefits are taken into account. But land is scarce. It is obvious that landowners should be fairly compensated if their land is converted into a climate buffer zone. However, land speculation and extortionate prices are unacceptable when the safety of our country is at stake. Regional zoning plans and related policy instruments should therefore be revised if we want to succeed in climate-proofing our country.