Features, Finance, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

NYC Must Prepare for Climate Change Now

May 17, 2019

By NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer

With over 520 miles of coastline, New York City sits on the frontlines of climate change. And over six years ago, those shores were slammed by Superstorm Sandy.

17 percent of our city was flooded, costing $16 billion in damages. Homes were destroyed, businesses washed away, futures were upended, and 54 New Yorkers lost their lives.

Sandy was a 1-in-260 year storm. But as sea levels rise and climate change accelerates, our city could see more ferocious storms as often as every 5 years. Climate change is an emergency – and time is running out.

That’s why we sounded the alarm with a new report revealing that our communities are still dangerously exposed to future storms. Here’s what my office found:

  • Of the $14.7 billion New York City received in federal funds to help Sandy survivors rebuild and to invest in resiliency – the City has spent just 54% as of March.
     
  • Specifically, we’ve managed to spend only 20% of the FEMA dollars earmarked for City hospitals… just 41% of the money to protect NYCHA… and a meager 14% of the $470 million intended for coastal resiliency projects.

We need to act faster because make no mistake: taking action is both a moral obligation and a financial imperative.

My office ran the numbers and found that a staggering $101.5 billion in property value is located in the most flood-vulnerable areas of our city. That’s growth of more than 73 percent since 2010. And it’s New Yorkers’ homes, businesses, and entire life savings that are on the line.

Here’s the thing. If we don’t move fast enough to protect our coast – and I mean all 520 miles of our coast – then New Yorkers will be at the mercy of the next wave of disasters. Because there’s no question that another Sandy will come – and we can’t be putting shovels in the ground as the next storm barrels toward us.

That’s why I’m calling on the City to expedite resiliency projects and create a comprehensive citywide coastal resiliency plan that doesn’t just plan for 2050 or 2030… but right now.

May 17, 2019

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “NYC Must Prepare for Climate Change Now”

  1. Jonathan Keller says:

    FEMA is so worried that someone might get $ they don’t deserve that those who deserve are short changed. Or not paid at all. Trouble is capitalism is a system of the undeserving getting most all of it. 29 people have the wealth = to 1/2 the world population! This must change to win the war against climate change.

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