Our Infrastructure Is Vulnerable

From the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to the devastation of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene, catastrophic events have exposed the tri-state region’s vulnerability to disasters of all kinds. 

Climate change is a threat that our coastal region is only starting to grapple with. Even if we aggressively reduce our carbon emissions, sea levels are projected to rise at least six inches by 2050, and the damage caused by storms is expected to rise 30% by 2100. 

Yet people continue to move into areas prone to flooding. In fact, since 1990, when the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was published, nearly 200,000 more people have moved into parts of the region that currently have a 1% chance of flooding every year, for a total of 1.67 million people region-wide. With sea levels projected to rise six inches by 2050, some 2.3 million people would be in harm's way.

Our critical infrastructure - things like power plants, rail and subway stations, hospitals and airports - are also increasingly at risk. Today, more than a quarter of the tri-state region's power-generating capacity is vulnerable to flooding. By 2050, more than half of our electricty capacity will be in an area at risk of flooding.