After the wreckage that Hurricane Sandy brought to the New York City area on Monday, both Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo are admitting that the storm was directly related to climate change. On Tuesday, the two discussed the probability of preparing Manhattan and other areas not just for flooding, but for other climate change-related crises in the future. Solutions like levees, storm surge barriers and other preventative measures were brought to the table, finally pushing a concern that others have been warning about for years into the public light.
In a speech to President Obama, Governor Curomo compared the storm systems that have hit New York to “a 100 year flood every two years.” With these “freak” tropical storms becoming a more regular occurrence, the reality is that New York needs to start protecting its coastal areas as the seas have proven their tides are rising, with increasing frequency of storms and extreme temperatures. With the impending rising sea levels, it is being predicted that in 100 years, New York’s waters will be at the level we today call “storm surge,” so unless a system is built, flooding will be a regular problem.
The governor suggested a levee system for Lower Manhattan, which is at sea level and clearly easily flooded after Monday’s hit by Sandy. That and other barrier infrastructures are being discussed, but would have a heavy price tag of billions of dollars. But no matter how expensive, these preventative moves could guard against even worse disasters that will likely be a risk down the line.
Bloomberg and Cuomo’s correlation between the storm and climate change is a big step for governmental leaders, who have tended to avoid the subject even though the rest of the country begins to accept it as a real problem. We hope that their addressing of this very real issue will cause other officials to begin to discuss this very relevant problem, and begin to take preventative measures before it is too late.
Via Huffington Post
Images ©NYCMayorsoffice Flickr