On the Waterfront: New York City's Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Challenge (Part 1 of 2)

11 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2014 Last revised: 14 Jan 2015

Date Written: 2014


New York City is a city on the waterfront. With 520 miles of coastline, New York City’s coastline is longer than the coastlines of Miami, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco combined. Nearly nine million New Yorkers live in areas vulnerable to flooding, storm surges and other natural disaster-related risks that are increasing as a result of climate change.

New York City didn’t wait for a devastating storm to begin comprehensively addressing the effects of climate change. The City’s extensive climate change mitigation and resiliency efforts and communications strategy have put the City in a league of its own. But, notwithstanding New York City’s proactive commitment to climate change mitigation, on October 29, 2012, Super Storm Sandy’s massive blow to the Big Apple — including the deaths of 43 New Yorkers — highlighted the need to weigh climate change and disaster resiliency more heavily on the policy scales as the City balances between conflicting policies.

This article is published in two parts. This first part looks at the current climate-change related predictions for New York City and summarizes the numerous climate-change mitigation and adaptation initiatives the City is taking.

Part 2 explores some of the key challenges facing the City, ultimately asking whether — even with the massive efforts triggered in part by Super Storm Sandy — the City is doing enough to prevent global warming and protect its residents from the increasingly intense and frequent weather extremes our future holds.

Note: Reprinted from Environmental Law in New York with permission. Copyright 2014. Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a LexisNexis company. All rights reserved

Keywords: Climate Change, Super Storm Sandy, New York City, Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability, PlaNYC, New York City Panel on Climate Change, NPCC, Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency, SIRR, Green Codes Task Force, Waterfront Revitalization Program, WRP, Hazard Mitigation Plan

Suggested Citation

Adams-Schoen, Sarah, On the Waterfront: New York City's Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Challenge (Part 1 of 2) (2014). 25 Envtl. L. in N.Y. 81 (April 2014) , Touro Law Center Legal Studies Research Paper Series No. 15-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2416438

Sarah Adams-Schoen (Contact Author)

University of Oregon School of Law ( email )

1515 Agate St.
Eugene, OR 97403-1221
United States

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