This week marked the beginning of hurricane season and experts predict storms will be worse than usual, especially following President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord on Thursday. To better inform New Yorkers about the risks of rising sea level and storm surges, the Waterfront Alliance, a nonprofit that works to protect waterfronts, released a Harbor Scorecard, as reported by the Brooklyn Eagle. The interactive scorecard lets users view each neighborhood by its waterfront safety and coastal resiliency. The group found that more than 400,000 New Yorkers face a 50 percent risk of a major flood by 2060.
The Waterfront Alliance believes the waterfronts of New York City, a city of islands, should reflect the “vitality and diversity of the great metropolis that surrounds them.” Their newly released scorecard measures waterfront access, water quality and coastal flood risk. It asks: How safe are you from a major storm? How healthy is the water near you? Can you get to and on the water?
The CEO of the Alliance, Roland Lewis, told the Brooklyn Eagle: “The scorecard will be a vital tool for citizens and civic groups to demand government action locally, statewide and federally for a stronger, healthier and more open waterfront.”
Lower Manhattan’s risk of major flood via Waterfront Alliance
In addition to the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers at risk for major flooding in the coming decades, the alliance also found that more than 40 percent of those at risk face economic barriers to recovery after a storm hits. Plus, nearly one-quarter of water samples failed the Environmental Protection Agency’s safe swimming standards in 2015, with more than 17 billion gallons of raw sewage entering the city’s waterways (which they say is even a relatively dry year).
While Trump has announced the United States will exit the Paris climate accord, the agreement among 194 countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming, current and former elected officials have spoken out against Trump’s decision. Former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has offered to provide the more than $14 million the United Nations stands to lose from Trump’s withdrawal, saying non-state actors will step up to bat for the environment’s protection.
As the New York Times reported, in a letter to the UN’s Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, Bloomberg said, “The bulk of decisions which drive U.S. climate action in the aggregate are made by cities, states, businesses, and civil society. Collectively, these actors remain committed to the Paris accord.”
Both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo promise to uphold the Paris accord, even if Trump does not. In a statement, de Blasio said the decision is “an immoral assault on the public health, safety and security of everyone on this planet.” Governor Cuomo, who lit the One World Trade Center and the Kosciuszko Bridge green in support of the Paris accord, called the White House’s decision “reckless.” Cuomo, alongside California Governor Edmund Brown Jr. and Washington Governor Jay Inslee, announced the United States Climate Alliance, a group of states committed to upholding the climate agreement.
“New York State is committed to meeting the standards set forth in the Paris Accord regardless of Washington’s irresponsible actions,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We will not ignore the science and reality of climate change, which is why I am also signing an Executive Order confirming New York’s leadership role in protecting our citizens, our environment, and our planet.”
Explore the waterfronts of your neighborhood and other NYC nabes through the interactive map here.
[Via Brooklyn Eagle]
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