This page provides an overview of the steps New York is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
In August 2009, Governor David Paterson established the New York State Climate Action Council (NYSCAC) and directed NYSCAC to create a climate action plan (Executive Order 24). In November 2010, NYSCAC released a 428-page Interim Report (“2010 Report” or “Report”) including measures both to reduce emissions and to prepare for the impacts of climate change. The Interim Report was released for public comment.
Chapter 11 of the 2010 Report covers the work of the Adaptation Technical Working Group and several sub-groups. It includes adaptation goals for a number of sectors, including: agriculture, coastal zones, ecosystems, energy, public health, transportation, telecommunications and information infrastructure, and water. The Report identifies the climate impacts in each sector and outlines goals for preparing for these impacts. The Report also assesses the potential costs, timing considerations, co-benefits, unintended consequences, and environmental justice considerations related to these goals.
In addition to the 2010 Report, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) commissioned an assessment of New York’s vulnerability to climate change. The result, Responding to Climate Change in New York State: ClimAID Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation — Synthesis Report, was published in November 2011. In addition to the multi-sectoral approach of the NYCAC and the ClimAID assessment, New York responded to the impact of Hurricanes Sandy and Irene and Tropical Storm Lee by studying the vulnerability of the state’s critical infrastructure. The state is also home to a number of the winning projects selected as part of the post-Hurricane Sandy Rebuild by Design competition.
Improving Infrastructure Resilience Post-Hurricane Sandy
On November 15, 2012, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo convened the New York State (NYS) 2100 Commission specifically in response to Hurricane Sandy. The commission was charged with evaluating key vulnerabilities in the state’s critical infrastructure systems and developing recommendations to improve the resilience of those systems. The commission released its report titled, NYS 2100 Commission: Recommendations to Improve the Strength and Resilience of the Empire State's Infrastructure, in January 2013.
Legislation Supporting State-Level Adaptation and Resilience
On September 22, 2014, Governor Cuomo signed the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (CRRA), which amends various provisions of state law. First, CRRA requires that climate change, severe weather, and sea-level rise be considered in certain state permitting and funding programs, including state funding for acquiring and preserving agricultural and recreational land and open space and natural, historical, and cultural resources; oil and gas well permitting; the siting of hazardous waste facilities; and funding assistance for waterfront revitalization and coastal rehabilitation projects. To accomplish these objectives, CRRA also required the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to write regulations (finalized in 2017) to establish statewide sea-level-rise projections that can be used to comply with CRRA.
In addition, CRRA called for the state to develop implementation guidance detailing how to incorporate these projections into state agency review procedures and application requirements for covered programs. Initially, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation released draft guidance in June 2018, including the State Flood Risk Management Guidance and Guidance for Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Assessment. The guidance addresses how to mitigate risk from sea-level rise, storm surge, and riverine flooding, and is intended to be used in certain state siting, permitting, and funding decisions as specified in CRRA.
Then in November 2020, DEC released a series of four additional guidance documents to implement the CRRA, as amended by the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (see below). In accordance with that requirement, DEC issued four guidance documents: (1) Using Natural Measures to Reduce the Risk of Flooding and Erosion, which describes natural resilience measures and their uses for reducing risks associated with erosion and flooding; (2) New York State Flood Risk Management Guidance, which presents recommendations to state agencies on considering flood risk in planning and project implementation; (3) a guide on Estimating Guideline Elevations, which presents the principles introduced in the New York State Flood Risk Management Guidance to assist planners, engineers, designers, and architects in flood mitigation project design; and (4) Guidance for Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Assessment, which provides general principles of climate risk mitigation that state agencies should follow when undertaking "smart growth assessments" required by the CRRA and other state statutes. It is important to note that CRRA advanced a number of the NYS 2100 Commission's recommendations related to increasing the resilience of state infrastructure by requiring state agencies to plan for and manage climate change impacts through consistent review procedures and plans.
Also in June 2018, DEC announced its first major update to the State 's Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations in over two decades (SEQR is New York’s equivalent to the National Environmental Policy Act, requiring environmental review of state actions that could affect the environment). The update will streamline the state's environmental review process and encourage both renewable energy and sustainable development. The update (effective January 1, 2019) consists of two main climate-related changes. First, DEC expanded the list of "actions not subject to further review" (known as “Type II" actions) to include green infrastructure upgrades or retrofits; and the installation of solar arrays on different sites like cleaned up brownfields, wastewater treatment facilities, and those zoned for industrial use s. The expanded list will expedite review for these types of environmentally beneficial projects. Second, state draft environmental impact statements will have to consider alternatives to avoid or reduce an action’s potential impacts on environmental conditions affected by climate change, such as sea-level rise and flooding.
In July 2019, the new Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) commited the State of New York to implementing several integrated climate adaptation planning and climate justice goals, in addition to aggressive climate mitigation goals. Among other provisions of the act, the CLCPA established a 22-member Climate Action Council and required the development of a scoping plan to meet legally mandated mitigation and energy requirements. The Climate Action Council's draft scoping plan, which will include mitigation and adaptation strategies, is due by January 1, 2022. The final plan is due one year later. DEC has one more year after that to promulgate regulations, guided by the scoping plan, to achieve the law's energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements of the CLCPA. The Climate Action Council chose to include adaptation recommendations in the scoping plan, but the adaptation recommendations are not required by the CLCPA. Notably, the council is working with different working groups and in consultation with the Climate Justice Working Group and the Environmental Justice Advisory Group.
In addition, the CLCPA requires DEC to assess all reasonably foreseeable risks of climate change on proposed projects and identify which risks are the most significant. Issues to be considered should include sea-level rise, storm surges, flooding, and temperature and precipitation changess.
These pages highlight the progress New York is making to implement its statewide adaptation plan. Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed and adopted to help New York prepare for the impacts of climate change, are featured in the chart below.
The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress states are making in implementing adaptation plans, was supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
(Research last updated: July 28, 2021).
|Resource Name||Resource Type||Date|
|New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (SB S6599)||Law and Governance||July 18, 2019|
|New York Regulation - Part 490 - Projected Sea-Level Rise||Law and Governance||February 2017|
|New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015||Law and Governance||March 31, 2015|
|New York Community Risk and Resiliency Act (S06617B)||Law and Governance||September 22, 2014|
|New York Community Risk and Resiliency Act – Application to Transportation Infrastructure Projects||Law and Governance||September 22, 2014|
|New York Smart Growth Public Infrastructure Act (2010)||Law and Governance||September 29, 2010|
|New York State Executive Order 24: Establishing a Goal to Reduce GHG Emissions 80% by 2050 and Preparing a Climate Action Plan||Law and Governance||August 6, 2009|
|Resource Name||Sector(s) Covered||Date|
|New York Community Risk and Resiliency Act Implementation Guidance||Coastal, Land use and built environment||November 4, 2020|
|New York State Ocean Action Plan||Coastal, Fish and fisheries, Oceans||January 23, 2017|
|New York State Wildlife Action Plan||Biodiversity and ecosystems, Fish and fisheries, Land management and conservation, Wildlife||September 2015|
|New York State Department of Health Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) in New York State||Public health, Frontline Communities||June 2015|
|New York State DOT Transportation Asset Management Plan||Transportation||May 2014|
|New York Metropolitan Transportation Council’s Plan 2040: A Shared Vision for Sustainable Growth||Transportation||September 4, 2013|
|Guidance for New York Rising Community Reconstruction Plans||Coastal, Emergency preparedness, Land use and built environment, Frontline Communities||2013|
|Mainstreaming Climate Change Adaptation Strategies into New York State Department of Transportation’s Operations: Final Report||Transportation||October 31, 2011|
|New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report||Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Energy, Land use and built environment, Public health, Transportation, Water resources||2010|
|Next Generation - New York City Housing Authority Sustainability Agenda||April 22, 2016|
|Northern Manhattan Climate Action Plan, New York City||July 27, 2015|
|One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City (One NYC)||April 21, 2015|
|Building the Knowledge Base for Climate Resiliency: New York City Panel on Climate Change 2015 Report||February 16, 2015|
|A Stronger, More Resilient New York||June 11, 2013|
|A Stronger, More Resilient New York - Transportation Chapter||June 11, 2013|
|Albany, New York Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan||2013|
|PlaNYC 2030 - A Greener Greater New York||April 2011|
|Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan||March 2011|
|New York City Green Infrastructure Plan - A Sustainable Strategy for Clean Waterways||September 2010|
|Rising Waters: Helping Hudson River Communities Adapt to Climate Change Scenario Planning 2010-2030, Final Report||2009|
|Sustainable Stormwater Management Plan 2008 for New York City||December 2008|
|City of New York Climate Change Assessment and Action Plan (NYC Department of Environmental Protection)||May 2008|
|Resource Name||Resource Category||Date|
|New York State Climate Leadership Coordinator Services||Education and Outreach||May 2021|
|Climate Change Resilience Strategies for Buildings in New York State||Solutions||June 2018|
|New York State Climate Smart Communities Grant Program||Funding||2018|
|New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse: Tools to Help Communities Prepare for Extreme Weather||Data and tools||May 6, 2016|
|New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Grant Program||Funding||July 2015|
|New York State Climate Smart Communities: Climate Smart Resiliency Planning Evaluation Tool||Data and tools||October 2014|
|Climate Change in New York State: Updating the 2011 ClimAID Climate Risk Information NYSERDA Report||Assessments||September 2014|
|Rebuild by Design: Big U - Transportation Elements||Planning||June 2014|
|Rebuild by Design: Hunts Point Lifelines - Transportation Elements||Planning||June 2014|
|New York State Bridge Scour Program||Funding||January 2014|
|New York Rising Community Reconstruction Program||Solutions|
|New York City Building Resiliency Task Force Summary Report||Planning||June 2013|
|NYS 2100 Commission Recommendations to Improve the Strength and Resilience of the Empire State's Infrastructure||Planning||January 11, 2013|
|Assessing the Vulnerability of Key Habitats in New York: A Foundation for Climate Adaptation Planning||Assessments||2013|
|Responding to Climate Change in New York State: ClimAID – Transportation Chapter||Assessments||November 2011|
|Responding to Climate Change in New York State: ClimAID Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Adaptation - Synthesis Report||Assessments||November 2011|
|New York State Sea Level Rise Task Force Report to the Legislature||Assessments||December 31, 2010|
|Integrated Assessment for Effective Climate Change Strategies in New York State||Assessments|