Yesterday New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed a $19.5 billion plan to protect his home town against future sea level rise and other effects of climate change such as heat waves. The big focus, however, is preventing death and damage from another Hurricane Sandy. The report, “A Stronger, More Resilient New York,” prescribes 250 projects ranging from big stone walls to little flood gates intended to hold back storm surges and fend off rising seas. Some of the steps agree with recommendations made by scientists in a feature article I wrote in the current (June) issue of Scientific American, and some steps contradict what those scientists said. But in total, the plan really calls for surrounding New York City with high levees, sand dunes and wetlands—much like the “natural” defenses that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been building around New Orleans.
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