New York City Panel on Climate Change Releases Report Concerning Adaptation
On May 27, 2010, the New York City Panel on Climate Change released a report recommending a series of steps and best practices for the city to safeguard its infrastructure and adapt to new conditions brought by climate change.
According to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the panel’s report, “Climate Change Adaptation in New York City: Building a Risk Management Response,” is one of the most comprehensive adaptation studies undertaken by a municipality. It outlines measures to help identify climate vulnerabilities, develop response strategies, and foster an effective “climate resilience” program. Modeled on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the New York City Panel on Climate Change was appointed in August 2008 as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC long-term sustainability project. It issued its first report, an assessment of climate risk to the city, in February 2010.
In its latest report, the panel found that, while climate change poses “real and significant risks,” the City has many tools in place to facilitate adaptation. It recommends planning that encourages flexible strategies that can be implemented over time as the risks increase and climate change is better understood. The recommendations include adopting a risk-based approach to building climate change resilience; soliciting advice from a body of experts on climate change issues; monitoring climate change and impacts over time; and including multiple layers of government and the private sector in adaptation planning. Other steps include reviewing standards and codes to determine their ability to withstand changes in the City’s environment; working with the insurance industry; developing strategies for near-term, mid-term, and long-term impacts; and focusing on early strategies that offer benefits in the near term or meet multiple goals. The report was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and has been published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.