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Cuomo Says NY Must Learn to Adapt to Extreme Weather

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After witnessing historic flooding and coastal surges caused by superstorm Sandy, Gov. Andrew Cuomo says it is time for New Yorkers to examine how to adapt to more destructive weather events associated with climate change. 

“Going forward we are going to have to anticipate these types of extreme weather patterns,” Cuomo said at a news conference earlier today. “And we have to think about how we redesign the system so that this doesn’t happen again.”

And on Albany's Talk 1300 AM radio show, he said this: "The construction of the city did not anticipate these kinds of situations ... We are only a few feet above sea level. You now have a whole infrastructure under the city that fills. The subway system, the foundations of buildings."

But, as reporter Peter Moskowitz points out in his story for Gotham Gazette this week, there are few public policies creating incentives for public or private developers to invest money in adapting buildings for extreme weather events that could become more frequent with climate change.

Of course, it's unclear how much climate change can be blamed for Sandy or even Irene, or any particular extreme weather event — as The New York Times' Andrew Revkin says on his Dot Earth blog:

There remains far too much natural variability in the frequency and potency of rare and powerful storms — on time scales from decades to centuries – to go beyond pointing to this event being consistent with what’s projected on a human-heated planet.

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Image of flooding on Eighth Street and Avenue C in Manhattan as Sandy's storm surge was near its peak. Photo courtesy That Hartford Guy, used under Creative Commons licence.

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Guest Sunday, 23 November 2014