N.Y. counties' seminar looks at weather and climate

Sep 25, 2018

Credit NYSAC

Tuesday was the last full day of the New York Association of Counties fall seminar in Rochester, where weather and climate were the topic of the keynote address.

The keynote speaker was Josh Darr, senior vice president and lead meteorologist at JLT, which does risk assessments.

He says weather isn’t getting worse, but more weather is happening in the extremes.

Darr says counties need to watch weather patterns to decide how to spend their assets -- whether it's people, time or money.

"That’s a very tough conversation, because when you’re putting dollars and tax dollars at work for these projects, you need to have some type of clarity around what impact it may have and what are we trying to mitigate against."

Mark Poloncarz is the Erie County executive and says when President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord, he disagreed with that decision and signed an executive order to follow those steps to reduce greenhouse gases and fight climate change in the county anyway.

"So if Erie County can do it, every other county can do it. And if every other county can do it, it doesn’t really matter what the president of the United States says."

Poloncarz also moderated a panel on making more sustainable county governments and climate change resiliency.

"We're the boots on the ground, we're the first responders when it comes to an emergency, when it comes to a natural disaster, so we have to be prepared for the worst and hope it doesn’t hit. Unfortunately, lately what we've seen is that the worst has hit many times."

Poloncarz says in Erie County, they’ve watched snow patterns change over the years to more frequent and more severe storms.