One of the big local stories is a study on the possible effects of global warming on New York City. The study paints a grim picture for mid-century New York, with a 15% increase in precipitation, much of it in the form of heavy downpours, and an increase in the number of days in which the temperature hits 90 degrees Fahrenheit (about 32 Celsius). Of course, the fact that New York is a sea of pavement and roofs will aggravate the heat island effect. As if that weren't bad enough, the study predicts a sea level rise of 2.5 feet (just under a meter).
One interesting approach to mitigating both the urban heat island effect and the problem of excess runoff is creating green roofs, roofs "carpeted" with vegetation. New York City has a number of green roofs, most notably the roof of Parks' Department Five Borough Administrative Building on Randall's Island. While not as radical a plan as Dixon Despommier's Vertical Farm, the green roof is a good baby step toward sustainable buildings. As a parenthetical note, Dixon Despommier gave a Secret Science Club lecture before I started this blog... I heartily apologize for not realizing that I had a responsibility to a readership back then. Here's a video of Dr Despommier speaking about vertical farms:
Tragically, a good subset of the public still believes that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by greedy scientists who are out to rip off a poor, beleaguered fossil fuel industry. This subset of the public has been bamboozled by the same predators who fought against anti-smoking efforts... the most gullible people in the world misled by the worst people in the world. The fact that Michael Bloomberg has crusaded against both smoking and global warming makes him a particular enemy of the mouth breathers. Unfortunately, these people vote in numbers just large enough to prevent any possible solutions from being implemented. Instead of duty now for the future, we have same as it ever was.