Motivator: Looking back on the tragedy of Katrina and its aftermath, we must use it as an opportunity and a motivator to act now to reduce the vulnerability to actual or expected climate change impacts. One strategy is adaptation: Adaptation is needed to respond to the short-term risks that are unavoidable as well as long-term risks, such as sea level rise. “After years of reluctance, scientists and governments are now looking to adaptation measures as critical for confronting the consequences of climate change.” (Stutz)
What is Adaptation? Adaptation is an “adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment that exploits beneficial opportunities or moderate negative effects.” (White House Progress Report). Much of adaptation measures focuses on general assessment research and risk estimation. The major concern of adaptation policy in the United States so far is on accurate predictions of climate change. Future climate impacts must be estimated before it is possible to plan adaptation responses. The Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that "adaptation will be necessary to address impacts resulting from the warming which is already unavoidable due to past emissions."
New York City (NYC) infrastructures and vulnerability to costal flooding: NYC houses one of the densest infrastructures in the world, and is “among the world’s most vulnerable places to enhanced coastal flooding due to sea level rise.” (Cullen p. 237). Considering NYC’s age and composition, some of its infrastructure and materials may not be able to withstand the projected strains and stresses from a changing climate. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives America’s total infrastructure a D. “The engineers found that 46% of NY’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition, 42% of NY’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, and 45% of NY’s major urban highways are congested.” (Cullen 239).
Climate Change Impacts to NYC: “A...