New York lays out $20 billion plan to combat effects of climate change

A home destroyed and abandoned after Hurricane Sandy is seen on Fox Beach Avenue in the Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island in New York City, New York, March 25, 2013. Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters
A home destroyed and abandoned after Hurricane Sandy is seen on Fox Beach Avenue in the Oakwood Beach section of Staten Island in New York City, New York, March 25, 2013. Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday announced a $20 billion plan to prepare for rising sea levels and hotter summers expected as a result of climate change in the coming decades.

The plan, which follows widespread destruction wreaked by Superstorm Sandy last year, included about 250 recommendations ranging from new floodwalls and storm barriers to upgrades of power and telecommunications infrastructures.

It coincided with a report updating projections of the impact of climate change, saying that over the next 40 years the number of sweltering summer days could double or even triple and that the sea level surrounding New York City could rise by 2 feet (0.6 meter).

The aim of Bloomberg’s plan was to ensure that the subway, transit, sewer and water, energy and food distribution systems would continue to function for the city’s 8 million people.

New York City could “do nothing and expose ourselves to an increasing frequency of Sandy-like storms that do more and more damage,” Bloomberg said in remarks at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

“Or we can make the investments necessary to build a stronger, more resilient New York – investments that will pay for themselves many times over in the years go to come,” he said.

New York City is surrounded by 520 miles of coastline – more than Miami, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco combined – and even a small rise in the sea level will jeopardize lower-lying homes and businesses.

Sandy killed more than 100 people in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, knocked out power to millions and cost New York City an estimated $19 billion in damages and lost economic activity.

Bloomberg said a storm of Sandy’s strength would cost nearly five times that amount if it hit the city in the middle of this century because of rising sea levels.

FLOODWALLS, DUNES AND TIDAL BARRIERS

In addition to new walls, dune systems and tidal barriers, the plan envisaged $1.2 billion in loans and grants to help owners make buildings more resilient to floods and proposed changes to the building code.

It included a proposed study on establishing standards for restoring power which would be discussed with the State Public Utility Commission, power utility Con Edison and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).

The city will also work on a plan to provide fuel when supplies are disrupted and to diversify energy sources.

Some elements of the plan are likely to be implemented this year, while others were more long-term, Bloomberg said.

To fund the plan the city would draw on city money that has already been allocated for capital improvements and on post-Sandy federal relief funds approved by the U.S. Congress.

But the funds may fall at least $4.5 billion short and the city will have to delay, scale back or eliminate some programs if it can’t fill the gap, the plan’s authors said.

They suggested additional funds could be raised by tapping into $2 billion of federal tax breaks for Lower Manhattan that were awarded after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

The city could ask state lawmakers to tack a “resiliency” charge onto insurance policies in New York City, including automobile, homeowner, commercial and other forms of insurance. A 1.5 percent surcharge could allow the city to issue bonds that “generate more than enough” to cover the $4.5 billion shortfall, the plan’s authors said.

(Reporting by Hilary Russ; Editing by Tiziana Barghini and David Storey)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Hurricane Odile batters Mexico's Baja resorts, sparks looting

Hurricane Odile injured dozens of people, forced the evacuation of thousands and smashed shops open to looters in the popular tourist area of Baja, Mexico.

National

Apple iPhone 6 pre-orders hit record 4 million…

By Lehar Maan(Reuters) - Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million…

National

LAPD investigates complaint from detained 'Django' actress

The LAPD is investigating after "Django Unchained" actress Daniele Watts accused police of violating her rights when they detained her.

Local

Number of New York City smokers increase, topping…

For the first time since 2007, there are  more than one million smokers in New York City, according to the New York City Department of…

Movies

Newsflash: Corey Stoll still not a man

In director Shaun Levy's "This Is Where I Leave You," Corey Stoll stars as the oldest of four adult children (the others are played by…

Movies

If you don't like Simon Pegg's new film,…

Simon Pegg goes all out in "Hector and the Search for Happiness" as the titular psychiatrist stymied by modern life who embarks on a globetrotting…

Arts

Art in Chelsea: Don't miss these 3 galleries

We selected three sure bets for seeing cool art in the galleries of Chelsea.

Music

Robin Thicke blurs lines further with new 'Blurred…

"The reality is," said Robin Thicke about "Blurred Lines" in a court deposition, "Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song."

NFL

Tom Coughlin says Giants 'beat themselves' against Cardinals

Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.

NFL

Marty Mornhinweg accepts blame for Jets timeout fiasco

Jets fans looking for a scapegoat for Sunday’s timeout fiasco found a willing party on Monday: Marty Mornhinweg.

NFL

3 things we learned in Jets loss to…

The wheels came off for the Jets, who gave up 21 unanswered points after a brilliant first 20 minutes in a 31-24 loss at the Packers.

NFL

Victor Cruz catches case of the drops in…

The Giants dropped a tough, 25-14, decision to the undermanned Cardinals Sunday in their home opener. And drop was the operative word of the day,…

Travel

World's most hipster cities: Top 5

Travel blogger Adam Groffman tells us his picks for the Top 5 most hipster cities in the world.

Education

The top 5 regrets recent high school grads…

College application season can seem like a blur for many students - as test prep, campus visits and filling out a seemingly endless stream of…

Parenting

Tech execs tend to limit their kids' screen…

You probably got your iPad before Bill Gates's kids did.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing: Daybreaker returns, Ray Rice jersey trade, Sweet…

  Now that Ray Rice is no longer with the Baltimore Ravens — or any other NFL team — after video footage surfaced showing him…