New York

A Megacity Inching Closer to Sea Level

Presented by Al Gore
Language English
September 15, 2011 7 p.m. local time

© 2007 WikiCommons/AngMoKio cc by sa 2.5

There are few places as diverse and as international as New York City. Located on a large natural harbor on the Atlantic Coast of the United States, New York boasts a population of close to 9 million people. New York is home to people with roots in more than a hundred different countries, speaking more than two hundred different languages, and professing every faith. How do you get such a big, diverse and densely populated city ready for climate change? That’s what planners in New York are grappling with as they come to grips with preparing the city for sea level rise.

© 2008 Flickr/Atomische • Tom Giebel cc by nc nd 2.0

New York Harbor has already experienced sea level rise of 15 inches in the last 150 years, with another 2-10 inches projected by the 2020s and 7-29 inches projected by mid-century. As sea levels rise, roads and homes will be increasingly flooded, drinking water may become contaminated by saltwater, and pollution from flooded sewers will increase. And that’s without the addition of stronger hurricanes, one potential impact of climate change. New York is already vulnerable to up to 30 feet of flooding during a hurricane. High seas and stronger storms are a recipe for disaster for one of the world’s great cities.


Former Vice President Al Gore is co-founder and chairman of Generation Investment Management, a partnership that is focused on a new approach to sustainable investing. He is also co-founder and chairman of Current TV, an Emmy Award-winning, independent cable and satellite television news and information network based on viewer-created content and citizen journalism. In addition, Gore is a senior partner with the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a member of the board of directors of Apple and senior adviser to Google.

Gore spends the majority of his time as chairman of The Climate Reality Project, a non-profit focused on solutions to the climate crisis.

Gore was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1976, 1978, 1980 and 1982 and the U.S. Senate in 1984 and 1990. He was inaugurated as the forty-fifth Vice President of the United States on January 20, 1993, and served eight years. During the Administration, Gore was a central member of President Clinton’s economic team. He served as President of the Senate, a Cabinet member, a member of the National Security Council and as the leader of a wide range of Administration initiatives.

He is the author of the bestsellers Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, The Assault on Reason, and Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis. He is the subject of an Oscar-winning documentary and is the co-recipient, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for “informing the world of the dangers posed by climate change.”