I would like to share with you a new and disturbing report on the imminent damage that will be inflicted on our communities by the continued rise in ocean levels around the world.
The Union of Concerned Scientists has created computer models based on weather satellite data. These models predict that in New York by 2045, 15,486 of today's homes that house over 41,000 of our neighbors are at risk of becoming chronically inundated. Chronic inundation means that these areas will see at least 26 floods each year.
By 2100, the report projects close to 400,000 New Yorkers living in 143,000 homes will be under water constantly.
The news gets worse as their models predict increased ocean levels rising by at least six feet by the end of the century, thereby destroying more property and homes and making areas of our city and country uninhabitable. The impact on our economy will be devastating!
For Puerto Rico, the report did not make any predictions. However, the impact will be just as severe and perhaps worse because it is an island. I am working to secure data on Puerto Rico and the Caribben from the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Over the past few years, I have strongly supported disaster preparedness policies, many of which have become law. But New York State needs to do more to prepare for and hold back the Atlantic Ocean.
For centuries, people living in Scandinavian countries, with vastly less wealth and without modern technologies, held back the Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland from destroying their homes, cities and arable lands.
That is why I strongly support legislation to create the New York State Temporary Commission on the Threat of Rising Oceans.
Six years after Superstorm Sandy and its $60 billion in damage to New York and New Jersey, we remain as ill-prepared for the next severe weather-related disaster and the imminent threat of rising ocean levels.
As many neighbors from Bangladesh can tell us, this is a worldwide problem. Each year, more and more of their land is under the Indian Ocean. Most of the lost land is prime agricultural land in a country already dealing with lack of adequate food supply for its citizens.
Working together and with your support, we will begin to use our vast wealth, technology and innovation to confront this undeniable threat.
Senator Luis Sepulveda
32nd Senate District