Buffalo, NY

Hochul Launches Multi-Year Study on Effects of Climate Change on New York State

J.M. Lesinski

Rain falls on Lakeshore Road along Lake Erie in Hamburg, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced the start of a multi-year study entitled: “New York State Climate Impacts Assessment: Understanding and Preparing for Our Changing Climate,” with the goal of exploring how climate change impacts communities, ecosystems, and economy in New York state.

"Climate change is here, it's real and no state has felt its impact more than New York," Hochul noted of the study. "From hurricanes like Sandy and Ida, to seven feet of snow in Buffalo, we have seen our weather continue to grow more extreme each year. As we continue to rebuild in the wake of this pandemic, we must take a hard look at how climate change will impact our future and this study will serve as a key roadmap in informing how we can build a thriving New York in the midst of these challenges.”

The research effort will be led by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and strengthens the implementation status of New York state's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Resources from the study are expected to be made publicly available on NYSERDA's website upon completion of the assessment, which is slated for early 2023.

"It is true that New York State, like many parts of the nation, is witnessing warmer average temperatures, more rampant flooding than ever before, and coastal erosion due to rising sea levels, making clear the climate is changing more rapidly than we once even thought possible,” said Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO of NYSERDA. “To ensure we are prepared for what's to come, NYSERDA looks forward to working with our partners on this ambitious and collaborative effort to help inform climate choices at all levels of decision making in the state."

The “New York State Climate Impacts Assessment: Understanding and Preparing for Our Changing Climate” will specifically include: Up-to-date projections of future climate conditions in New York State, in-depth economic impact assessments, a peer-reviewed technical report on impacts and adaptation strategies, and summaries and other materials designed for use by particular audiences.

"This science-based study is a prudent approach to examine the most information New Yorkers need to prepare for the new realities caused by our changing climate,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos stated of the study. “By harnessing the collective expertise of some of the most knowledgeable experts across the country to identify and assess causes and consequences of climate change, New York State is better able to inform public policy and bolster resiliency programs. I commend our partners at NYSERDA for their commitment to combat the climate crisis on all fronts by advancing solutions to address the challenges we face while protecting and informing our communities."

To ensure the widest range of engagement and input, NYSERDA has assembled a team of climate scientists from across New York, as well as other states including California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Indiana, and Texas. The study will also feature scientists from Canada, as well as members of indigenous communities.

"ERG is honored to support NYSERDA by playing a central role in coordinating the New York State Climate Impacts Assessment,” stated Eastern Research Group, Inc. Founder and CEO David Meyers of the study. “Providing an accurate, accessible, relevant, and up-to-date understanding of climate change-related impacts across New York State will contribute to the vital mission of protecting the health, resiliency, and prosperity of New York's many diverse communities, ecosystems, and industries. We look forward not only to serving the people of New York State, but also to holding up this groundbreaking work as an exemplary model of how to develop an impact assessment for a changing world."

Additionally, NYSERDA has chosen the Consensus Building Institute (CBI), Eastern Research Group (ERG), Columbia University, and Industrial Economics (IEc) to provide technical modeling, administrative coordination, and facilitation support for the study.

"NYSERDA's timing for the launch of the Climate Impacts Assessment is ideal - just as new methods and data are becoming available to estimate the economic impact of changes in climate, the need for this information to inform New York State policy is at an all-time high,” said Industrial Economics (IEc) Principal, Project Lead, and IPCC Lead Author Jim Neumann. “The public wants to know how this new normal of severe climate and extreme events will affect health, property, and livelihoods in the future. IEc is excited to apply the best science and economics to advance our understanding of the new climate reality.”

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY

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