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The shorelines of New York

Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - Updated: 6:29 PM

In Kingston, they're talking about protecting the waterfront from the inevitable damage that will come from the inevitably rising water level in the Hudson River.

That's a discussion that needs to get going in Newburgh and every other river town down to New York City, where they are facing the same kinds of challenges because they know that what happened with Superstorm Sandy is a preview of what is to come.

While nobody can predict when the next hurricane will come up the coast or where it will turn toward shore, anybody who has been paying attention knows that higher water levels were at the heart of the destruction. And those levels are only going to go higher.

Some people in Goshen and Chester who are still trying to recover from the damage caused not by Sandy but by the series of storms that struck a year earlier are going to court, saying that local and state governments knew that some streams and rivers were prone to flooding yet did nothing about it.

And as skiers look to the sky for the snow that will get their season started, those who study the long-term weather trends are warning that higher temperatures are going to bring more rain and less snow as the years go by.

In the background of the debate over the existence, cause and cure for global warming, there has long been a sense that people would do something once this hit home. Now it has and that leaves us with two problems, not one.

The first is what to do about the contributions we make to global warming. Even among those dedicated to finding a cure there is no real agreement. Besides, that will not be decided at a local level.

The second is what to do about vulnerable shorelines and other areas.

That is something we can confront and will have to pay for. The talk in Kingston needs to spread quickly so that more riverfront property does not end up in the river.

-- The Times Herald-Record of Middletown

     

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