October 31, 2012
It is small comfort to sodden and stranded New Yorkers that Hurricane Sandy’s flooding of the city’s infrastructure, from power lines to subways to low-lying communities, was predicted in grimly precise detail by scientists in the latest state and city climate studies. Deeper and more frequent flooding from Rockaway to Lower Manhattan and the city’s transit tunnels has been a repeated warning that largely went unnoticed by the public and most politicians.
But now, with the floods from Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene last year on his watch, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pointedly stressing what he considers the inevitability of more such disasters. “Climate change is reality,” the governor said Wednesday, estimating Sandy’s economic damage up to $6 billion. “Given the frequency of these extreme weather situations that we’ve had — and I believe that it’s an increasing frequency — for us to sit here today and say this is a once-in-a-generation and it’s not going to happen again, I think would be shortsighted.” Mr. Cuomo admits that he does not have all the answers nor enough government money for all the proposed solutions. And we can all hope that he is wrong in his forecast. But the urgency of his warning is rooted in a basic fact of nature underpinning the government studies: New York’s coastal waters, which rose an inch per decade in the last century, are heading toward rates of 6 inches per decade as the oceans warm and expand. That would be a disastrous rise of 2 feet across the next 40 years, for anyone planning ahead. And there aren’t many in government planning ahead as the postrecession political debate grinds along the question of how to slash government improvements, not expand them.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/01/opinion/worrying-beyond-hurricane-sandy.htmlShare This Post