FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2008
MAYOR BLOOMBERG LAUNCHES TASK FORCE TO ADAPT CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE TO ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Representatives from Government and Industry, Including Top Climate Change Scientists, Gather at City Hall to Chart Response to Effects of Changing Climate
More Frequent and Powerful Storms will Affect Coast Areas, Rising Temperatures Will Strain Electric Grid
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today launched the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force and the New York City Panel on Climate Change through to develop adaptation strategies to secure the City's infrastructure from the effects of climate change. The task force, which was one of the 127 initiatives proposed in PlaNYC, the City's long-term sustainability plan, is made up of City and State agencies, authorities and private companies that operate, maintain, or control critical infrastructure in New York City. Advising the task force is a panel of experts from academic institutions and the legal, engineering, and insurance industries. These groups will begin the process of creating a coordinated plan to adapt our roads, bridges, and tunnels; mass-transit network; water and sewer systems; electric, gas, and steam production and distribution systems; telecommunication networks; and other critical infrastructure. This effort is one of the most comprehensive and inclusive strategies ever launched to secure a City's critical infrastructure against the effects of climate change. The Rockefeller Foundation's Climate Change Resilience program has awarded a $350,000 grant to fund the work of the Panel on Climate Change.
"We face two urgent challenges - both of which we're responding to as part of PlaNYC," said Mayor Bloomberg. "First, we have to shrink our carbon footprint to slow climate change. Second, we have to adapt to the environmental changes that are already beginning to take place, For example, raise critical infrastructure, like back-up generators, to higher ground in areas prone to flooding. Changes in the way we maintain and operate our infrastructure can help secure our City."
"Experts at Columbia University's Earth Institute are pleased to offer scientific and technical expertise to assist the City of New York with its climate adaptation plans," said Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist and Co-Chair of the City Panel on Climate Change. "It is our hope that cities in the United States and around the world will use New York City's planning process as a model to respond effectively to climate change challenges."
"We commend Mayor Bloomberg's leadership on climate change," said William Solecki, Director, Institute for Sustainable Cities at Hunter College and Co-Chair of the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. "We look forward to building on the important work the scientific community has already done on these issues and helping New York City find specific solutions to adapt to climate change."
While much of the world's efforts have focused on mitigating the impact of climate change, some impacts are certain to occur, regardless of reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. For this reason, the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force will:
The task force will be assisted by a technical advisory committee, the New York City Panel on Climate Change, made up of leading experts from regional academic institutions and the legal, engineering, and insurance industries. The Rockefeller Foundation's generous grant will fund the creation of New York City Panel on Climate Change, modeled on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The committee will be chaired by Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig of the Columbia University Center for Climate Systems Research/NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Dr. William Solecki of Hunter College's Institute for Sustainable Cities. The New York City Panel on Climate Change will:
The City Department of Environmental Protection first issued an adaptation plan for its assets in May 2008, and this task force will build on their efforts.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
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