2012-09-11. New York Is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise, Critics Warn |

posted Sep 11, 2012, 4:35 AM by Alan Gould
by Myreya Navarro, New York Times. An article relevant to GSS Climate Change chapter 9. Excerpt:  With a 520-mile-long coast lined largely by teeming roads and fragile infrastructure, New York City is gingerly facing up to the intertwined threats posed by rising seas and ever-more-severe storm flooding. …So far, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has commissioned exhaustive research on the challenge of climate change. His administration is expanding wetlands to accommodate surging tides, installing green roofs to absorb rainwater and prodding property owners to move boilers out of flood-prone basements. But even as city officials earn high marks for environmental awareness, critics say New York is moving too slowly to address the potential for flooding that could paralyze transportation, cripple the low-lying financial district and temporarily drive hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. Only a year ago, they point out, the city shut down the subway system and ordered the evacuation of 370,000 people as Hurricane Irene barreled up the Atlantic coast.  …Others express concern for areas like the South Bronx and Sunset Park in Brooklyn, which have large industrial waterfronts with chemical-manufacturing plants, oil-storage sites and garbage-transfer stations. Unless hazardous materials are safeguarded with storm surges in mind, some local groups warn, residents could one day be wading through toxic water. …Other cities are also tackling these issues, .... New shoreline development around San Francisco Bay must now be designed to cope with the anticipated higher sea levels under new regional regulations imposed last fall. In Chicago, new bike lanes and parking spaces are made of permeable pavement that allows rainwater to filter through it. Charlotte, N.C., and Cedar Falls, Iowa, are restricting development in flood plains. Maryland is pressing shoreline property owners to plant marshland instead of building retaining walls…. …Unlike New Orleans, New York City is above sea level. Yet the city is second only to New Orleans in the number of people living less than four feet above high tide — nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, according to the research group Climate Central. …Klaus H. Jacob, a research scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, said the storm surge from Irene came, on average, just one foot short of paralyzing transportation into and out of Manhattan. …In 2009, a commission warned that global warming posed “a new and potentially dire challenge for which the M.T.A. system is largely unprepared.”. …. Read the full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/nyregion/new-york-faces-rising-seas-and-slow-city-action.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120911