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New York DEC Prepares to Address Sea Level Rise

Recent legislation has directed the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) to prepare regulations addressing projections of sea level rise, along with adaptation strategies. As a part of that process the DEC held a series of meetings last week in order address issues outlined by the DEC in its published Summary for Stakeholders.

As noted by the DEC:

“It is important to compare outlays for adaptation measures with the costs of doing nothing, and to take into account the importance of climate change losses to society.

ClimAID 2011 initiated these comparisons with a statewide analysis of limited data on eight economic sectors. This study concluded that unless resilience measures are put in place, by mid-century the total costs of climate change for key economic sectors in New York State each year may approach $10 billion (in 2010 dollars).

The study projected the largest likely direct impacts and costs of climate change in coastal areas, chiefly impacting transportation, energy and other infrastructure, and natural resources. However, it concluded, all economic sectors and all parts of the state will feel impacts like lower agricultural crop yields and dairy production, or declining winter recreation tourism.”

The the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA) requires DEC and other state agencies to adopt official State sea-level rise projections by January 1, 2016. Those regulations will serve as the basis for State adaptation decisions and will be available for use by all decision makers.

Steven Silverberg

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