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New York City Among Least Prepared for Climate Change

New York City

Climate Readiness

Avenue C in Alphabet City during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Many co-op and condo boards are quaking at the potential costs of meeting New York City’s tough new law that demands sharp reductions of carbon emissions from buildings beginning in 2024. But a new study suggests that there’s a good reason for the Climate Mobilization Act: when it comes to climate-change-induced disasters, New York City is one of the most vulnerable and least prepared cities in the nation, CityLab reports. 

A new study called  “How Climate Change Will Impact Major Cities Across the U.S.” charts cities’ risk levels for incurring damage from climate-change-spurred floods, droughts, sea level rise, heat waves, and cold waves. Using data from the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN), Eylul Tekin, a research assistant for the online real-estate platform Clever, analyzed those risk factors along with each city’s plans to adapt to those weather hazards. The cities with the highest vulnerability and lowest preparation are mostly in Florida, California, and the northeastern coastal cities in New York and New Jersey, including New York City and Newark. 

In fact, another study conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cites two New York City counties as among the least resilient in the country when it comes to disasters: Bronx County and New York County (Manhattan). 

There’s irony here. In most cases, the wealthier the community, the better it’s prepared for disaster. Yet Manhattan, one of the wealthiest jurisdictions in the U.S., ranked among the lowest scored for community resilience, mainly because of low vehicle- and home-ownership rates and a high level of transient residents. 

So, the dreaded Climate Mobilization Act is an idea whose time has already come. As the report concludes, places like Newark, New York City, and many cities across the South are experiencing climate change right now.

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