Climate Twins: By 2080, NYC Will Feel Like Arkansas

Sixty years from now, climate change could transform the East Coast into the Gulf Coast. It will move Minnesota to Kansas, turn Tulsa into Texas, and hoist Houston into Mexico. Even Oregonians might ooze out of their damp, chilly corner and find themselves carried to the central valley of California.

These changes won’t happen literally, of course—but that doesn’t make them any less real. A new paper tries to find the climate-change twin city for hundreds of places across the United States: the city whose modern-day weather gives the best clue to what conditions will feel like in 2080. It finds that global warming will be like relocating American cities more than 500 miles away from their current location, on average, mostly to the south and toward the country’s interior.

Source: CityLab

Council Bill Would Create New Agency To Manage Climate Change

Photo by Jonathan Gross / Creative Commons

New York City could become the first in the country to establish an agency to manage its efforts to deal with climate change if a new bill announced Wednesday passes.

The legislation, authored by City Councilman Costa Constantinides, would create a new commissioner-led department to carry out the city’s sustainability policies, including a historic bill to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Source: Huffington Post

Three Projects Transforming Staten Island’s West Shore

A portion of the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank. Thousands of new plantings are protected by fencing and other deterrents to keep away birds and deer. Photo by Nathan Kensinger/CurbedWhile it’s unlikely that many New Yorkers will ever see it up close, Staten Island’s western shore is undergoing a transformation that will impact more than 800 acres of waterfront property.

According to Nathan Kensinger at Curbed:

“Along the northern edge of Bloomfield, near the Staten Island Expressway, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the Goethals Bridge Replacement Wetland Mitigation Project, which is restoring 26 acres of wetlands around Old Place Creek. Further south, next to the West Shore Expressway, the NYC Parks Department and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) are working together to rehabilitate 68 acres of the Saw Mill Creek wetlands.

And in between these two restoration projects, a 3.5 million-square-foot warehouse complex is now being constructed. Located in a 676-acre property that once housed an oil storage facility, the Matrix Global Logistics Park has already signed up several tenants, including Amazon and Ikea, who will operate out of four massive warehouses. When completed, the Matrix complex will encompass 200 acres, all built on top of what was once a wetlands ecosystem.”

The Saw Mill Creek restoration project is particularly interesting because it is part of the Saw Mill Creek Pilot Wetland Mitigation Bank, which allows developers to buy credits in order to offset the environmental mitigation they are required to complete at other construction projects in the area.

This is the first mitigation bank in New York, and if it proves to be successful, this model could be used in other places around the city.

Source: Curbed

End of Ethanol Ban May Bring More Smog to New York Summers

President Trump is expected to end certain restrictions on selling gasoline containing a higher percentage of ethanol. Photo by United Soybean Board/Creative Commons.

The Trump administration has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to end its ban on the summertime sale of E15, a blend of gasoline and corn ethanol.

Up to now, such sales have been barred because E15, which is 15 percent ethanol, contributes to more smog during hotter summer months.

The change is opposed by an unusual political alliance of environmentalists, who oppose the environmental damage, and the fossil fuel industry, which does not want to see more gasoline displaced with corn ethanol.

Ethanol combustion releases elevated levels of nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds, both of which form smog in the air when exposed to sunlight and high temperatures.

Source: Times Union

Danish Wind Company Buys Leading U.S. Offshore Wind Developer

Deepwater Wind is developing projects in Connecticut, Maryland and New York and is still planning to construct a second wind farm off of Rhode Island big enough to supply up to 25 percent of the state’s energy needs. Photo by Ionna22/Creative Commons

Danish renewable energy company Ørsted has announced a $510 million deal to buy Deepwater Wind, which built the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. off the coast of Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is also developing New York’s first offshore wind project for the Long Island Power Authority and built the first offshore wind farm in the U.S. off the coast of Rhode Island.

If approved by regulators, the deal will create a U.S. subsidiary called Ørsted North America that has a combined 8.8 gigawatts of projects in development up and down the East Coast.

By paying more than $500 million for a relatively small company with just one wind farm, Ørsted appears to be confirming that the United States is considered the next big source of growth for this industry.

Source: The New York Times

 

City Alters Design for East River Park Plan

The city wants to lift up East River Park by several feet to prevent the FDR Drive and homes behind it from flooding.
The city wants to lift up East River Park by several feet to prevent the FDR Drive and homes behind it from flooding. Photo via New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

The city has announced major changes to the design for part of the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project (ESCR), a proposal that aims to protect against catastrophic flooding by building a “resilient park” along the East River from Montgomery Street on the Lower East Side to East 25th Street.

The new design will reportedly reduce construction time, while also delivering flood protections nearly a year earlier than projected.

Construction is aiming to get started in March 2019 and the park is slated to be complete by 2023. The new design is projected to cost around $1.45 billion.

Source: Curbed

Harlem Community Garden Seriously Damaged by Herbicides

Volunteers at Jenny’s Garden in Harlem say weed-killer sprayed by Amtrak representatives has ruined their fall harvest. Photo via Kindred Spirit Group’s instagram.

A beloved community garden in Harlem has been seriously damaged by pesticides.

Volunteers at the Riverside Valley Community Garden — located on West 138th Street and Riverside Drive near the Amtrak tracks — told AM New York that their seasonal harvest was ruined when Amtrak workers sprayed weed-killer near the garden.

Amtrak representatives confirmed that weed killer was indeed sprayed on Sept. 15, and that Amtrak had hired an outside company to do the deed.

Garden volunteers have filed a damage report with Amtrak. Jason Abrams, a spokesman for Amtrak, said in an email that Amtrak  ‘is currently investigating this claim.”

Source: AM NewYork

NY Admits Defeat as Emerald Ash Borer Continues to Spread

The emerald ash borer is a shiny green beetle about the size of a penny. The borer likely will ultimately bring about the end of the state’s 700 million ash trees. Photo via Be a Smart Ash

The Department of Environmental Conservation has repealed logging restrictions put into place to contain the spread of the emerald ash borer, admitting that the quarantine had failed. The invasive insect has now spread so far into the state that officials believe most of New York’s ash trees will be gone within the next decade.

The state is now recommending that forest landowners move forward with harvesting the remaining healthy ash trees now, as “infested ash degrades quickly, resulting in decreased economic value and greater risk of personal injury and property damage.”

Source: Times Union