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Climate change expert says towns must adapt

June 25, 2013

NARRAGANSETT – Hurricane Sandy devastated many cities and towns last October when it tore up the East Coast.
Nearly eight months later, as rebuilding and recovery efforts still continue in many places, one major question still stands, according to Dr. William Solecki, climate change expert, professor at Hunter College of The City University of New York (CUNY) and director of the CUNY Institute for Sustainable Cities.

“How do you make cities more resilient? And what is some of the science behind that?” Solecki said is a question public officials and even citizens need to consider as recovery efforts and life as usual move forward. Solecki discussed this question Wednesday at a lecture presented by the Metcalf Institute at the University of Rhode Island’s Bay Campus.
Solecki began the lecture by stating one of the main differences between Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy is that the recovery from Katrina did not involve a response to the question of climate change, which is now something that is being addressed nationally.
“How do you create cities that not only need to respond to extreme events, but also recognizing that cities are in sort of this interesting dynamic where the environment in which they are present is changing,” Solecki said. “So they not only have to recover from the past event but also sort of try to create a situation where they’re fitting their development strategy to a future world.”
Solecki said from his understanding, the rebuilding of the levee in New Orleans did not take into account climate change and sea level rise, which is an important factor that he believes need to be considered as cities recover and assess lessons learned from past events, like Sandy, as well as prepare for future extreme weather events.

For the rest of this story and more local news, pick up the June 20 issue of the Chariho Times.

Southern Rhode Island Newspapers
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