Bloomberg unveils grim environmental report findings

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited a wastewater treatment plant in the Rockaways Tuesday to roll out a report from his office on climate change, which projected more days of temperatures 90 degrees and above, rising sea levels and more heat waves by the end of the century.

“Climate change, as you know, is already altering the environment, including New York City,” the mayor told reporters during a news conference at the city Department of Environmental Protection’s Rockaway Wastewater Treatment Plant at 106−12 Beach Channel Drive.

“We simply can’t walk away from our duties to help future generations,” Bloomberg said. “Our failure to act now can truly endanger the city our children will inherit.”

The report, compiled by the New York City Panel on Climate Change, projected that temperatures would increase by 4 degrees to 7 12 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.

It also estimated the city would have 2 12 to four times as many heat waves as it experiences now and a 5 percent to 10 percent increase in precipitation by 2100.

Bloomberg said that precipitation increases would mean more intense rain and coastal storms and higher temperatures, bringing rapid evaporation of water that would make the city more susceptible to severe droughts.

The mayor also said sea levels will rise by between 1 foot and 2 feet, posing a higher risk of coastal flooding in low−lying areas.

Cynthia Rosenzweig, the panel’s co−chairwoman, said the findings “have real implications for the infrastructure of our city,” including the Rockaway treatment plant.

Since the treatment plant and similar facilities across the city are situated in coastal areas, more wave and salt damage will be inflicted on the plant’s equipment, she said.

“We are informing ourselves of the risks [of climate change] and beginning to take them seriously,” Rosenzweig said.

Acting DEP Commissioner Steven Lawwits said the Rockaway plant is conducting design work to raise its electrical equipment from the bottom of three levels so it can stay ahead of the curve.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e−mail at or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 173.

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