NYC Climate Adaptation Planning

On October 7, 2021, the New York City Council passed legislation sponsored by Justin Brannan and forty other council members requiring the development of a citywide climate adaptation plan by September 30, 2022, and its renewal every ten years.

While providing for a comprehensive scope broader than previous legislative efforts, there are no provisions for implementation or funding.

Climate Hazards

As New York has experienced in 2021, climate hazards take multiple forms and the legislation requires that planning take into account the following:

  • Extreme storms (Such as hurricanes, nor’easter’s, or blizzards)
  • Sea level rise
  • Tidal flooding
  • Extreme heat
  • Extreme precipitation
  • Extreme wind
  • Wild fires; and
  • A flooding surge event that may be associated with a storm

Entities Involved

The Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability is designated by the bill with the responsibility of directly or indirectly formulating the plan in consultation with the Department of City Planning, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Buildings and five additional agencies.

Planning must also take into account reports and other work performed by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC) and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC). The NPCC is an independent advisory body convened by the Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency charged with providing actionable scientific information on future climate change and its potential impacts, while the IPCC was created to provide policy makers across the globe with regular scientific assessments on the implications and potential future risks of climate change.

The bill also requires recommendations found within the Department of City Planning’s Comprehensive Waterfront Plan to be taken into account. That plan covers areas such as economic opportunity, but also climate resiliency and is also renewed every ten years.

Scope of Planning

The plan developed under the legislation must ‘consider and evaluate,’ climate hazards impacting the city and identify and recommend resiliency and adaptation measures for them that are inclusive of non-structural risk approaches that protect and prepare residents, property and infrastructure.

In terms of geographic areas, while all five boroughs are to be taken into account, planning is specifically called for the city’s shorelines and areas determined to be highly vulnerable to climate hazards, which may be given priority.

The plan must also consider the potential impact of the above measures on areas of environmental justice.

Publication

The climate adaptation plan must be completed and posted on the website of the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability, or the site of an agency designated by that office no later than September 30, 2022 and every ten years that follows.

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