New York has a $20 billion plan for city development that would offset climate change

In June, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a $20 billion plan to prepare for rising sea levels and hotter summers expected as a result of climate change in the coming decades.

The ambitious proposal – which could become the benchmark for other cities dealing with climate change – could reshape Lower Manhattan’s waterfront, with the possible addition of a “Seaport City” out of the East Side.

The more than 400-page plan, which follows widespread destruction wreaked by Superstorm Sandy last year, included about 250 recommendations ranging from new floodwalls and storm barriers to upgrades of power and telecommunications infrastructures.

The plan also contained prosaic ideas, such as building up beaches and using sand dunes and plantings as natural buffers to storm surges flooding.

While some smaller provisions of the complex, long-term plan are already underway, others would require approval or action from the state or federal government.

In May, Jeroen Aerts, a professor of environmental risk management at the VU University in Amsterdam and an adviser to New York City co-authored a study on New York’s flood defense options, had expected the mayor to propose a plan estimated at $11.6 billion.

“I think Bloomberg chose a more expensive solution because he wants to add value to the city. He wants to involve developers and private companies” Aerts said.

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