For the first time ever, the New York Panel on Climate Change, an independent group that helps inform city officials on climate policy and put New York at the forefront of climate action among the world’s cities, has laid out the city’s climate risks until the year 2100.
The report, which comes after a two-year study, predicts a temperature rise of 5.3 to 8.8 degrees by the 2080s (from the 1980s); a precipitation rise of 5% to 13% in the same time period; and a projected sea level rise of 25 to 50 inches by 2100, with a worst case scenario of a 6 foot sea level rise.
NYPCC’s Radley Horton summarized the findings: “When we look at some types of extreme events, we’re seeing multipliers, doubling or tripling of the frequency of some of these extremes.”
“Even if storms don’t change at all – so, if we just get the same types of hurricanes and nor’easters we’ve had in the past – just by raising that sea level baseline by five feet, you turn what’s currently a sort of one-in-100-year flood event into something that happens, on average, roughly once every eight years or so,” he said.
As a way to counter climate change and adequately prepare, City Hall laid out a number of measures planned to mitigate these potential disasters, including a pledge to reduce city greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and billions of dollars in comprehensive resiliency measures, some of which include a flood protection system for the Lower East Side, a shoreline investment program to protect vulnerable waterfront communities, and a review of the food supply chain. A full list of the preventative measures is shown on the New York City official government website and the next scheduled update from the NYPCC is set to be released early next year.
(Photo: Alex Lukas)