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New York City, like other major cities around the world, has acknowledged the problem of climate change and begun to implement proactive policies to decrease the city’s contribution to the problem (i.e., mitigation) and to make the city less vulnerable to the effects of climate change (i.e., adaptation). The City’s initiatives have been comprehensive and progressive, especially its climate change-related data analysis and communication initiatives including NPCC, and its comprehensive reform of building and other related codes. The City’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 and its progress toward that goal are also laudable, but the City should consider increasing its emissions reduction goal in light of the most current data on climate change and the risks posed to the city. The City would also be wise to further examine its approach to waterfront development, problems related to fragmentation and a lack of transparency in climate change-related policies, and the underlying causes of delay in assisting displaced persons to rebuild.

This article is published in two parts. Part 1 looked at the current climate-change related predictions for New York City and summarized the numerous climate-change mitigation and adaptation initiatives the City is taking.

This second part explores some of the key challenges facing the City, ultimately asking whether — even with the massive efforts triggered in part by Super Storm Sandy — the City is doing enough to prevent global warming and protect its residents from the increasingly intense and frequent weather extremes our future holds.


Reproduced from Environmental Law in New York with permission. Copyright 2014 Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis® Group. All rights reserved.

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25 Env'tl. L. in N.Y. 101