- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $500 million resiliency plan to protect lower Manhattan from the effects of climate change, including improving flood protection, extending shoreline and reinforcing coastal areas.
- The investment comes on the back of a comprehensive strategy for the area, known as the Lower Manhattan Coastal Resiliency (LMCR) project, which evaluated dozens of measures the city could take. Construction on the projects will begin between 2019 and 2021.
- "Hurricane Sandy showed us how vulnerable areas like Lower Manhattan are to climate change," de Blasio said in a statement. "That’s why we not only have to reduce emissions to prevent the most cataclysmic potential effects of global warming, we have to prepare for the ones that are already inevitable."
Due to its surroundings of the Hudson River and Atlantic Ocean in a naturally sheltered harbor, New York City is under threat from many of the effects of climate change, including the sea level rise that is already plaguing low-lying cities in Florida. After dire warnings issued by the federal government and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC), cities are increasingly taking matters into their own hands as the impacts get greater and more regular. “As the waters rise, time is of the essence to protect our entire coastal city," Roland Lewis, President of the city’s Waterfront Alliance, said in a statement.
Other cities susceptible to sea level rise have taken similar action. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a plan last year to transform the city’s 47-mile shoreline by adding 67 acres of green space, protecting infrastructure from higher sea levels. Similarly, the National League of Cities (NLC) announced eight cities that would receive cash, technical assistance and professional development opportunities to help address their communities’ resilience in dealing with climate change. Honolulu is also making efforts to prevent sea level rise, while a recent survey by the U.S. Conference for Mayors showed that 57% of participating cities plan to undertake some sort of climate action in the next year.
In a statement, de Blasio called on the federal government to “stand behind cities like New York to meet this crisis head on,” echoing his predecessor as mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who has repeatedly criticized national leaders for abdicating their leadership role and instead left it to cities to pick up the slack. With lower Manhattan a key population and business center in New York City, and not far from the financial district, de Blasio and his fellow leaders see it as imperative to protect a key part of the city’s economy.