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During the campaign Obama said his election would presage the “moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” Today Mayor Bloomberg exempted New York from that forecast. His expert New York City Panel on Climate Change predicts “extreme weather events” over the next century. By the 2020s, rainfall may rise as much as 5 percent, sea levels by 5 inches. It doesn’t sound like much, and it’s pretty consistent with previous analysis, but even these rates increase the likelihood of hurricanes, floods, and droughts, the panel says, though not all at the same time. And later in the century, the risk of disaster-movie weather increases. (Full report pdf here.)
We console ourselves with the cheering thought that we’ll be long dead before things get really bad, but the Mayor feels obliged to think ahead, and says the city’s Adaptation Task Force will use the data to “create a plan to protect the city’s critical infrastructure and will inform other city efforts to adapt to climate change.” So as soon as the stimulus money rolls in, let’s all head down to the Battery and to the Rockaways and build up those seawalls.