Photo Gallery US East Coast's Watery Future

New York City and New Bern, North Carolina both face the same prospective rise in sea levels, but while one is preparing for the worst, the other is doing nothing on principle. A glimpse into America's contradictory climate change planning.
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A computer simulation of flooded zones in New York in 2050, based on calculations by the New York Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability. According to calculations, the sea level in the city could rise by more than three-quarters of a meter (2.5 feet) by 2050, and by one-and-a-half meters 30 years later.

Foto: DER SPIEGEL; Satellitenbild: Google Earth
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In October 2012, when Hurricane Sandy, dubbed a "Frankenstorm," struck the East Coast of the United States, Rockaway Beach was washed away, swallowed up by a raging storm surge. Here, a man walks down the heavily damaged beach in November 2012. The beach is currently being rebuilt.

Foto: SPENCER PLATT/ AFP
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A parking lot in Hoboken, New York filled with flooded yellow cabs after Hurricane Sandy. In New York City alone, the storm killed 44 people, destroyed thousands of buildings and hundreds of thousands of cars, and caused $19 billion in total damage.

Foto: Charles Sykes/ AP
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The rollercoaster in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, was washed into the sea during Hurricane Sandy. White concedes that a single storm cannot be directly attributed to climate change. But she also points to the models developed by the New York City Panel on Climate Change (NPCC), which indicate that by the end of the century, storms like Sandy will likely occur once every two years.

Foto: TOM MIHALEK/ REUTERS
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Outgoing New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has placed a lot of emphasis on green issues during his three terms. Here he is, posing during the launch event for the city's bike-share program, Citibike.

Foto: CARLO ALLEGRI/ REUTERS
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As part of his efforts to make the city greener and more accessible to pedestrians, Bloomberg also turned parts of the famous Times Square over to pedestrians. "When New York does something, the world pays attention," says Deputy Mayor Caswell F. Holloway IV. New York, he adds, has the ability to spur global changes because it's a "world capital."

Foto: SPENCER PLATT/ AFP
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