What I'm going to talk to you about today is New York City's experience with Hurricane Sandy and how I think its really been sort of a tipping point societally potentially. Actually this is I guess a theory to put out there towards getting people to first off sort of understand and think about some of our vulnerabilities to the current climate today and how some of those vulnerabilities are gonna be amplified as we move into the future as sea levels rise, as temperatures go up. But then also try to make the point relative to a lot of cities in the US and maybe even globally, New York City's further along in the kind of risk management thinking. It's ultimately isn't just about solutions to the climate problem but sort of broader visioning about what kind of society we wanna have in the future. How many people were in the region when Sandy struck? Okay. So, this will be familiar to a lot of you of course. So, one of the striking factors was that the timing of when this surge, this piling up of water that's caused from the wind. The timing of that just happened to coincide with the natural high tide. Right? So, twice a day we have our natural high tide and on top of that, it was a bigger than normal tide because of the time of month that we had. So, some of why Sandy's flooding was so severe in the southern part of Manhattan was just the bad luck of that surge caused by the storm coinciding with the natural high tide for lower Manhattan for example. But of course what's most striking about it was actually some factors about the storm itself. This was one of the biggest storms we'd ever had that far north. If you look from one end of it to the other, tropical storm force winds extended out almost 1000 miles. That enabled Sandy to have a much bigger surge. A much bigger piling of water than you'd think about for a storm with those kind of winds. It basically got that whole part of the Atlantic Ocean spinning. So, this combination of the fact that it hit at high tide and the storm was so powerful created this surge that was devastating for the region and we do need to keep in mind here that the surge was worse than it otherwise would've been because of the sea level rise that we've had in New York City over the last century due to climate change. Sea levels are about a foot higher than they were 100 years or so ago in the region. That absolutely made a difference. It's estimated that flooded something on the order of 70 square kilometers of additional area. Tens of thousands of people had water in their homes that wouldn't have if the same type of storm if it had hit 100 years ago when water levels were lower. As you put greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the upper ocean is warmed. It's expanded. Some of the land based ice as temperatures have gone up have made their way to the ocean. Once they get to the ocean that causes sea levels to rise as well. So, let's talk a little bit about New York City's preparations for Sandy because as I alluded to earlier New York City's actually been commissioning studies of climate risk for about ten years or so, going back to the early days of the Plan YC initiative. And I think as a result of that some very positive steps were taken. Many people were evacuated in advance of Sandy. As we know it was not perfect. There were some very vulnerable groups that didn't get the attention that they needed. Some elder care facilities. Some of our hospitals were located in the low lying areas. Not everybody got out who needed to get out. But another major planning initiative was getting out of state utilities into the region in advance of the storm. That helped to restore power quicker than it otherwise would have been restored cuz we had I think at the peak something like four to eight million people without power and I think it's important when we think about the MTA experience. On the one hand clearly we learned just how vulnerable this system is. Right? Huge cost of seven tunnels getting flooded. Devastating damage. For example just of one subway station down at the South Ferry estimates of a half a billion dollars in damage at that flagship station. On the other hand, if we compare MTA to New Jersey transit for example. In some ways it's a success story because the MTA was able to move all of their rolling stock which is basically the subway cars. Almost all of it to places within the system where it didn't experience the water, in contrast to say New Jersey transit which had a lot of that rolling stuff. A lot of that trains damaged because there wasn't really a plan in place. So, just sort of a quick tally reminder for folks. Just in New York City itself, 44 deaths. Drowning was the primary cause. I mentioned that flooded the subway lines. 90,000 buildings in the inundation zone. The city alone had 2 million without power. There's a lot more for the region. An estimated 19 billion and damages just in the city alone. So, I alluded to the fact that there were some unforeseen impacts as well. Some things where planning was clearly very deficient. So, that issue of so much of our key facilities are right along the cost. Hospitals and nursing homes suffered a lot. I think one thing we're learning more and more about is the importance of our networks. Right? So, to protect a system like the electrical grid, transportation corridors, we need to think about the weakest links in the chain. You have to protect the entire system and also different types of infrastructure are interrelated. So, we saw things like the MTA being challenged when trying to pump water out of their stations simply because they couldn't get access to electricity cuz the electrical system was down. If we look at the issue with the gas shortages as well, there are actually sort of several links in the chain that led to those shortages. So, as we sort of plan for the future how do you plan across all these different agencies? And they're not all just in the city either. Right? They're not all under Bloomberg or de Blasio's control. How do we do that kind of regional planning through? So, I just wanna say a little bit about some emerging research about different approaches to resilience, different ways to prepare and respond especially after a storm. So, some people from our group up at Columbia are now looking at disaster response post-Sandy and comparing some of the pros and cons of different approaches to disaster response. Sort of volunteer and community groups that sort of stepped in and filled in more than a niche that wasn't being met by some of the large and centralized organizations after Sandy. So, just I think people have maybe heard a little more about the large centralized organizations. Let's say a little bit about the early results for volunteer and community groups. One of the pros, you can get a very quick response. You can get response from people who really know the needs of individuals in the community. That person in that apartment has a special medical need. We haven't heard from that person in a while. Really sort of tailor that response to people's needs and the number of people can scale well to the scale of the particular needs. We sometimes hear about large-scale planning efforts coming in and actually sort of getting in the way of delivering community response sometimes. Cons, generally don't have the specialized training that's needed. There can be exposure issues among people who are helping. Mold issues for example. And clearly after an event like Sandy, you know, we shouldn't kid ourselves that the community level response is, they accomplished a lot but there's a limit to what they can do given the scale of the problem financially for example. The resources weren't there. So, let's talk a little bit about adaptation now. Some of the solutions that are underway and sort of ways of thinking about adaptations. In New York City. So what are some of the qualities we expect to see in adaptations? So this is basically the idea of, as temperatures go up, we're gonna see a lot more heat waves. As sea level rises, we're gonna see a lot more coastal flooding. What can we do? On the one hand, we have to reduce our emissions, as we heard, so that we can avoid some of those worst-case scenarios. So the heat waves don't become that much more frequent, or that much longer lasting, or that much hotter. But clearly, we're already vulnerable today to things like heat waves and coastal flooding. And no matter what we do, that vulnerability, that frequency of events is gonna go up to some extent, because the greenhouse gases that we've already put in the atmosphere are gonna last for a long time. And because we've so silently, in a sense, sort of committed to some more emissions as well, every time we build a new coal plant, for example. So, how do we adapt? As we think about some of the strategies, things to think about are multidimensionality. That's for example, can we pick a strategy that doesn't just protect us from the climate changes we're experiencing, but that also minimizes the amount of climate change in the first place? If we put in more green roofs or green infrastructure, can that change the energy balance of a building so we don't need to use as much air conditioning in the first place? And can it simultaneously have an impact that makes us less vulnerable to the climate changes as well? For example, by capturing rainwater and preventing it from causing more flooding when we get heavier rain events in the future. Interdependency. There's a whole task force that's been developed in New York City, post-Sandy and even pre-Sandy, that brings together managers across different infrastructure sectors to make sure that their adaptations are working together and not at cross purposes. To make sure that one agency doesn't, for example, as a way of dealing with heavy rainfall flooding, just divert the water to another agent, which has happened, there have been examples of that in the past. Intertemporality, basically just the idea, as I mentioned earlier, of thinking about both short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives and new information as it becomes available. It's not just about projections, it's about setting up a system for knowing how best to bring in new information as it comes in. We don't know exactly how much sea level rise we're going to get this century. It could be anywhere from, say, two feet to as much as six feet. But what should we be watching right now? At what point in the next couple decades will information come in that'll help point us towards which of those tracks we're gonna be on? Okay, so I've said that I'd talk a little bit about the Tale of Two States and One City. So the 2100 Commission was set up by Governor Cuomo here in New York after Sandy, and very much embraced the climate change risk. Some people may remember hearing some quotes by the governor right after, saying that extreme weather is basically the new normal, something to that effect. In contrast, Governor Christie of New Jersey focused on rebuilding as was, was sort of vocal in saying that there wasn't really any evidence that human activities were leading to climate changes. I think in general, in the messaging, more of a focus on sort of just rebuilding things to where they were, quickly. Certainly, there's an argument for quickly responding, but if it takes a little longer to rebuild but you're able to build in some extra protections, that could be a very wise strategy. At the city level, Mayor Bloomberg, former mayor now, is now leading the C40 summit. Lots of initiative. The risky business initiative that a few people were talking about earlier. Bloomberg is one of the three sort of lead figures in that, very active in addressing climate change risk. And I think frankly, sort of taking a perspective of, by New York City thinking about these risks in advance, I'll save money in the long term. It's cheaper to address these issues now rather than putting them off. And it also can put New York City at a competitive advantage compared to other cities that aren't preparing for these changes. Okay, so in the wake of Sandy, under Bloomberg, the New York City Panel on Climate Change convened. This is a group of experts, climate scientists like myself, who developed the sea level rise projections, temperature and rainfall projections for the city. But much more than just climate science, risk management experts, people from the private sector, insurance industry, public health experts as well, to really think about all the risks the city faces in the future. And that group interacted with the agency stewards, the people in the different agencies in the city, to really get together and think together about risks. So not just this top down what's gonna happen to the climate or what are the impact's gonna be, but bottom up also, within the agencies. What are the big vulnerabilities today? What are the parts of their system that are already sort of pushed to the max and how might those change in the future? So, putting it all together, we developed a lot of tools that really highlighted the fact that small changes in sea level or temperature can have a huge impact on how frequently we get extreme events. That's one of, really, the sort of take home messages I think for cities. So under a conservative sea level rise scenario, where we only get something like two feet by 2100, sort of the lower bound of what we think is possible. If we get that two feet of sea level rise, and even if storms don't change at all, so hurricanes do not become more frequent, Nor'easter storms don't become more frequent. Just raising the sea level alone by two feet would triple how frequently we get coastal flooding. It would turn the storm like Sandy from the one in 100 year event to something that on average would happen about once in the typical lifetime of a mortgage, a one in 30 year type of event. Under a conservative sea level rise scenario, by 2100, no stronger hurricanes, just raising that baseline gives you much more frequent coastal flooding. And you find the same thing when you look at other variables like temperature. A few degrees of temperature rise, five degrees Fahrenheit, by late in the century, which is a fairly conservative scenario for our region, maybe an average scenario for our region, would give us more than a tripling of the frequency of heatwaves. That's not just more frequent heatwaves, longer duration heatwaves, nighttime temperatures are warmer so it's harder for the human body to recover, there's a much greater demand on the power system, so those are some of the things that were highlighted in this. I don't really have time to get into this graphic, but it's just one of the ways that the FEMA maps that we heard about later could be modified to project the additional areas that'll get flooded in the future. So it's not just about changing frequency of flooding, that the 1 in 100 year flood becomes a 1 in 30 year flood, it's also that new areas are moving into that 1 in 100 year flood zone. And if you see the purple colors on Southern Brooklyn and southern Queens and also notice orange colors, those are areas that are moving into the flood zone as we get sea level rise. Sort of closing with this idea of Science in Place, Science in Time, so there is this long history in New York City really going back to the first national climate assessment around the turn of the last century of thinking about climate risks. A lot of these impacts, flooding of the subway tunnels, flooding of the airports were predicted. We've known that these were vulnerabilities for a long time. So it's not enough just to have the climate science, and in some ways it's not climate science uncertainty that's holding us back in a lot of our decision making. These are sort of deep rooted challenging problems. We need an organized societal response to step up to these big cost outlays up front, but outlays that, over time, will actually save us a lot of money. Because the alternative Of not addressing the risk, not reducing our emissions gets us to a place that we probably can't even adapt to. I talked a little bit already about the projected changes. These are expected to extend to heavy rain events as well. The northeast is a part of the country that has seen large increases in these heavy downpours. About a 70% increase in the last half century in how frequently we get the really heavy rain events. This is an emerging bit of science, as well. So it's not just sea level rise and coastal flooding. It's not just heat waves. These heavy rain events are very serious problems, cause loss of life, lead to a lot of pollution. From the cities running off into our waterways. That's another real emerging finding, I would say. So what is the city doing, just sort of as I sorta get to the closing slides? So there's a special initiative on recovering and resiliency, rebuilding and resiliency. It's got about 250 different initiatives, some of which are underway. Some are still in the planning stages. So some of these are around increasing the coastal edge elevations, reducing wave damage. That might be doing things offshore that will attenuate the waves so that they don't make it all the way to the coastline. Protecting against storm surge could be done with artificial measures, flood walls, levys. As of right now the city is not in a major way considering any of these sort of $10 billion type of storm surge barriers, but that could be in the cards in the future. And then green infrastructure solutions. As well. Restoring oyster beds along the coast. Green areas that can flood occasionally. And potentially retreating from some of our most vulnerable areas too. Even if New York City is able to build structures to hold back the water, one thing I can tell you for sure is that most US cities, most global cities along the coast, are not gonna have the resources to hold back the sea for very long. In some cases, it's physically impossible to. You have parts of Florida, for example, where you basically have limestone. Even if you build some sort of storm surge barrier, the water will just sorta percolate up from underneath. So there aren't any easy solutions. And retreat is gonna increase and it'll be part of the discussion, I think, in a lot of the world's cities. New York City, as I said, and the state are doing a lot of different things. It's not all around sort of standing in place, changing what's on the ground in place. There's a buyout plan, early, early stages. Is, you know, few neighborhoods at this point, but really efforts to, in some cases, give people the full value of their homes before Sandy struck, especially in those places that are what they call sort of repeated loss areas in a flood plain that have continued to be flood, to flood. You know, those are very costly to maintain and also are public safety issue as well, right, because as sea levels rise it's gonna be more and more difficult for people to evacuate. Okay so in closing just to highlight a few post Sandy points. What decides whether there will be action largely has to do not just with what the actual risk is but what's the socially acceptable level of risk. And after Sandy people's risk tolerance went down quite a bit. And as we see that's lead to some discussions that weren't really possible before Sandy. As a result a lot of investments, a lot of action were mobilized in New York City. For other parts of the region though there has been a lot less done today. Congress has gotten involved. There's a rebuild by design program that some of you may heard of that's actually just awarded funds to explore some of these adaptation solutions. Growing recognition of the increasing risk due to climate change, arguably is now accepted in the public discourse. I think at least in the northeast and some other parts of the country, although we can still find plenty of examples. Where city planners, state planners have still been told you're not allowed to build climate change projections into your planning. The most you can assume is that the historical rate of sea level rise will continue. Whereas all the science would suggest that as green house gases get further from equilibrium. We actually expect change to accelerate. You push a system further away, you don't get the same rate of change you get faster change. And then, again, just to say what I said earlier we need more than just city level planning. We need sort of organizing to larger scales given the scope of the challenge. So, the question was about the role of insurance in this policy discussion. And absolutely that has to be a key part of the discussion, and we have seen examples of places where private insurers have left the market state insurance funds have stepped in to fill the bill. But this is one of the potential factors that could lead, in my mind, to a sort of rapid increase in awareness of coastal vulnerability. Cuz we could see the failure of one of those state funds if we see another huge storm in the future. And as sea levels rise those kind of risks are gonna go up. The insurance companies to some extent write policies sort of year by year for hurricanes, anyway. So the way it's structured right now, they don't necessarily have the incentive to think 30 years out what sea level rise gonna be. However, as I mentioned, sea levels rises all ready starting to increase the flood risk. So it makes sense for them, and they are, looking at the more recent years not the sort of longer term trends from the past. I think you're gonna see, my prediction would be that you probably see more and more insurers leaving the market. It's all ready happened in the northeast. It's not just places like Florida. Where they've left the market. It's happening increasingly here as well. And you're absolutely right, that many people aren't pricing in the risks. So, there's the insurance piece, there's also the piece of home loans can be linked to you know, sort of paying for different types of insurance, that sort of thing. But, that's a big part of it, and it's not just the sort of coastal homeowner issue. I think, increasingly, we are going to see this type of risk management almost being required. Shareholders are going to be demanding this more and more from companies in general, or are they thinking about their risk exposure. So, the question was about. Cost benefit analysis, basically comparing the cost of climate change to the cost of action to limit the emissions in the first place, or to adapt. And there's this risky business initiative that someone mentioned earlier, Paulson, Rubin, and Bloomberg and others that is attempting to quantify just what we could lose under some of these sea level rise scenarios. The EPA estimates that came out along the recent plan, the president's plan to limit coal emissions also has cost estimates associated with it. And in general, I think it's fair to say that the costs of acting are a lot less than the costs of inaction.