The latest IPCC report basically says that whatever we do, NY is a doomed city with no hope to remain above water due to climate change (among many other settlements) (TS-54). Why is the media not freaking out? I don't recall anyone mentioning it since the report was released. Did I misinterpret the figures? For example, Baku is 28 meters below sea level but not submerged so there's more to that than plain elevation numbers, I guess

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  • $\begingroup$ Worst case, this can be solved with civil engineering like they did in Amsterdam. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 2:02
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    $\begingroup$ That's not to say we shouldn't do something about climate change of course. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ An elevation below mean sea level does not automatically mean submerged (see, for example, Amsterdam and Rotterdam). Also, on page TS-54: "[...] sea level [..] will increase an additional 30 cm to 1 m or more by 2100, depending on future emissions". Low-lying parts of Lower Manhattan currently have a ground elevation of 2m above sea level, so the threat isn't imminent, and the city has already started on a $1.45 billion project to build floodwalls to protect that area. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 4:43
  • $\begingroup$ new york is buildt on landfill to a large degree so it will be very hard to keep the water out,it is not impossible but it will be very expensive to keep the water out. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 6:48
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    $\begingroup$ And why should we freak out because some semi-well-known city will sometime over the next centuries be swallowed by the sea? There are island, villages and cities today being swallowed by the sea - and we don't give a damn. $\endgroup$
    – Erik
    Commented Dec 14, 2021 at 11:26

1 Answer 1


New Yorkers see the writing on the wall and ARE freaking out over rising sea levels...but not in the expected way. Ever since the last (2013) redrawing of federal FEMA flood maps that accounted for coming sea level rise, the threat of rising insurance rates forced the city to argue against the science used by FEMA. As a result, FEMA backed away, watering down (!) flood risks to appease concerns that property values would decrease and that the poor would get shafted.

Updated FEMA maps due out sometime in 2022 will be backed by ironclad science that the city cannot argue against. You can be assured that many coastal New Yorkers with mortgages will be freaking out when they see their mandatory insurance bills rise by many thousands of dollars. They are already pre-freaking out!

Inland New Yorkers are also freaking out that these potentially displaced coastal communities will further add to the city's housing crisis, and that's ahead of the next storm surge. This, in addition to the stress of living with all of the work being undertaken to harden municipal systems ahead of rising tides.

As for the media, they only understand "if it bleeds, it ledes"; they think that nothing puts viewers to sleep faster than news stories about neighborhood re-zoning and insurance premiums.


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