Homes damaged from Hurricane Sandy flooding © 6sqft
Or at least that’s what a report released today by the New York City Panel on Climate Change says. Looking at the next century, the startling analysis finds that average temperatures could rise 4.1 to 5.7 degrees by the 2050s and as much as 8.8 degrees by the 2080s; yearly heat waves will triple in occurance; there will be many more days over 90 and 100 degrees; annual precipitation will increase by 5 to 13 percent by the ’80s; the Northeast will see more intense hurricanes with extreme winds; and sea levels are expected to rise 18 to 39 inches by the ’80s and 22 to 50 inches by 2100, meaning the amount of land within FEMA’s proposed flood insurance rate maps will double, covering 99 square miles of the city.
But don’t start planning your exodus just yet. The Mayor’s Office is well aware that their findings “underscore the urgency of not only mitigating our contributions to climate change, but adapting our city to its risks.”
The report’s climate change map
Just a bit more bad news–all of these climate changes will increase respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, allergens, asthma, and air pollution, leading to more health-related deaths.
Okay, back to the semi-good news. To mitigate the effects outlined in the NPCC report, the city will fund a $335 million flood protection system for the Lower East Side; allocate $100 million to protect at-risk waterfront communities; and implement the NYC Cool Roofs program by painting building roofs with a cooling, reflective paint. Plus, they’ve already started reducing greenhouse gas emissions; adding sand dunes on Staten Island, replenishing 4.15 million cubic yards of sand on city beaches, and updating building and zoning codes. Future projects include upgrading flood protection systems for at-risk areas like Red Hook and Breezy Point; preparing NYCHA for heavy floods; ensuring hospitals don’t lose electricity during storms; and funding $450 million in levees in places like Midland Beach and Staten Island’s East Shore.
But do keep in mind that all of these efforts are just to protect from climate change; they won’t do anything to stop it.