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Mayor To Propose New Infrastructure To Deal With Effects Of Climate Change

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg is set to deliver a major address on Tuesday on how the city should prepare for the effects of climate change, following months of preparation from a task force the mayor set up after Hurricane Sandy. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to tell the city on Tuesday that Hurricane Sandy-like destruction could return to New York if the city does not do anything.

"We're going to need to make investments as a city, significant investments, if we're going to make sure that we're going to be protected over the long term. This is something that we can address, but it's not going to be easy," Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway told reporters at City Hall on Monday.

City Hall is not saying what those investments are, saving the surprise for the mayor. But removable storm barriers are among the ideas, sources briefed on the proposals said.

When forecasts call for floods, they would be placed into holes drilled in the sidewalk in low-lying areas like Lower Manhattan.

Sources also said Bloomberg will also suggest dunes in the Rockaway, a storm gate at Newtown Creek and man-made ways to break waves off Staten Island's South Shore.

"Sandy brought the reality of climate change really home to New Yorkers in a very real and tangible way, $60 billion worth of economic damage, floods exceeding our hundred-year flood plain," said Andy Darrell of the Environmental Defense Fund.

Flood plains are home to 83 percent more people than 30 years ago, and that number is projected to double by the 2050s. Barring action, those New Yorkers are caught in potential cross-hairs of another storm.

"When they've looked at what the potential storm surge for a so-called 100-year flood could be, the height of that 100-year flood could be five to six feet higher than Sandy in the out-years, and maybe six feet higher," said Seth Pinsky of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Bloomberg is expected to say big storm surge barriers are not workable. That sets him apart from Governor Andrew Cuomo and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who both say the idea should be studied.

It is not just more flooding that New Yorkers can expect, it's also hotter days. Currently, the city gets about 18 days a year that are 90 degrees or hotter.

By the 2050s, scientists say that number can grow to about 57 days a year, making the city as hot as Birmingham, Alabama is now.

Heat waves kill more people in the city than any other natural disaster.

• Follow Josh Robin on Twitter @joshrobin

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