Green Government: NYC MTA vs. NJ Transit, Sandy Edition

“Luck should never be part of your critical planning.”

After Sandy’s floodwaters receded, NYC’s subways were back up running in days. Six months out, NJ Transit is still not fully operational.

How come?

We now know, thanks to diligent reporting, that the NYC MTA had a fully vetted and tested climate change adaptation plan, and that NJ Transit did not.


How NJ Transit Failed Sandy’s Test

But the fate of NJ Transit’s trains – over a quarter of the agency’s fleet – didn’t just hang on one set of wrong inputs. It followed years of missed warnings, failures to plan, and lack of coordination under Governor Chris Christie, who has expressed ambivalence about preparing for climate change while repeatedly warning New Jerseyans not to underestimate the dangers of severe storms.

The silver lining is my hope that this reporting will help fuel productive conversations about my state’s preparations for dealing with climate change-related events. So that New Jersey is better prepared next time.

Join me at the May 22 New Jersey Climate Adaptation Conference: Climate Change Preparedness in New Jersey: Leading Practices & Policy Priorities.




Green Government: (Climate) Change is in the Wind

Climate Change.

Superstorm Sandy’s hurricane force winds brought those words to the minds and hearts of many people last week.

And started a conversation.

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg endorsed President Obama, citing Climate Change.

Non-partisan political pundits called Climate Change  the October surprise no one saw coming.

Global financial entities calculated the costs of insuring against future Sandy-strength events.

Millions of Americans found themselves personally affected.

Sustainability heavy-weight Andrew Winston blogged about the costs and consequences of Climate Change and Sandy for the Harvard Business Review.

And Businessweek chimed in with a front-page story headlined,  “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”

I’m glad that more people are talking about Climate Change, even as I am heartsick, from my front-row seat as a New Jersey native and resident, at so much devastating loss.

In the wake of Sandy’s destruction, here’s hoping that we can now begin working concretely, practically and steadfastly on Climate Change challenges.

(Climate) Change is truly in the wind.