Flood deaths push council to demand climate change plan for New York

Lonnie Portis, environmental policy coordinator for WE ACT for Environmental Justice, a group that advocates for poor, black and Latino neighborhoods disproportionately affected by environmental threats, said the group has worked to ensure that the law Specifically addresses the needs of the communities “that are first and worst affected” by climate change.

City officials and lawmakers have taken a number of steps to make post-Sandy plans a reality, such as pension-fund divestment from fossil-fuel companies, measures to curb the city’s emissions of planet-warming gases and parts of Lower Manhattan. attempts to shore up. , Staten Island and Queens from the waves of the storm.

But as of 2019, the city had spent just 54 percent of the $15 billion allocated by the federal government after Sandy’s attack in 2012 to protect against climate-related threats, and day-to-day climate policies are still in the hands of an alphabet. Was in The soup of city, state and federal agencies.

That year Costa Constantinides, Mr Brannan’s predecessor at the helm of the council’s resilience committee, and other city lawmakers introduced the first version of the bill.

It didn’t immediately win support from the mayor or council leaders, but Ida, and the deaths of 15 New York City residents, most of whom died as basements flooded, changed the calculus, proponents of the measure say. Since Ida, Mr. de Blasio has released an updated climate resilience plan that contributes $2.7 billion in new funding and stresses the urgency to address problems such as basement flooding. But with his term coming to an end, most of the work will go to his successor.

Democratic nominee and potential next mayor Eric Adams also released a new climate plan — much more detailed than what he presented during the primary campaign — after the Ida floods.

The council’s measure has been expanded from earlier editions to cover a wider range of climate impacts: not only flooding on the coast but also extreme rainfall, heat and wind and even wildfires. For this the mayor needs to give the first plan by September 30, 2022.

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