Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A car drives on a flooded street in New York Cty.

A motorist drives a car through a flooded expressway in Brooklyn, New York early on September 2, 2021, as flash flooding and record-breaking rainfall brought by the remnants of Storm Ida swept through the area. (Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images)

'I'm Asking for a Green New Deal!' At Least 14 Dead as Floods Devastate New York City Area

"I never want to hear anyone say that a Green New Deal is too expensive ever again," said one scientist as New York City ground to a halt.

Julia Conley

Desperate calls for far-reaching climate action came from New York City Wednesday night and into Thursday as the city and the surrounding area was inundated with the remnants of Hurricane Ida—causing partial building collapses, severely flooded subway stations and homes, and the deaths of at least 14 people.
 
"I'm asking for a Green New Deal!" tweeted Ellen Sciales, communications director for the Sunrise Movement, as she shared a video showing several feet of water flooding her own home.
 
A two-year-old was among those who were found unconscious by emergency workers in homes in New York and New Jersey, after authorities responded to calls about flooding. 
 
"When do we start caring about the climate crisis and stop pretending like we've done enough in New York?" asked Democratic New York state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi in response to a video of a flooded subway station. 
 
All of the city's subway lines were suspended Wednesday night.
 

"We need to keep connecting the dots back to the corporations that are fueling this crisis."
—Jamie Henn, Fossil Free Media

As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said last month, the warming of the planet is causing hurricanes to dump more rain on impacted areas when the storms hit. The atmosphere can hold 7% more water for every 1.8° Fahrenheit (1° Celsius) of warming, increasing precipitation. The planet is already about 2° Fahrenheit warmer than it was in the 19th century as a result of fossil fuel extraction. 
 
New York City saw a record-breaking 3.24 inches of rain in a single day on Wednesday, and at least 7.2 inches of rain inundated Newark, New Jersey. Nearly 250,000 people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut were without power on Thursday morning.
 
Videos showed flooding at Newark Liberty International Airport, where many flights were canceled or delayed. 
 
One terminal looked "like a giant swimming pool," Dr. Lucky Tran of the March for Science tweeted.
 
"I never want to hear anyone say that a Green New Deal is too expensive ever again," Tran tweeted, referring to the legislation proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) that would create more than a million jobs and put people to work upgrading U.S. infrastructure, shifting to 100% renewable energy, retrofitting buildings, and taking other actions to mitigate the climate crisis. 
 
Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, said she was going door-to-door in her district Thursday morning to find out how residents were affected. 
 
As the city was drenched Wednesday night, the congresswoman denounced members of both major political parties who have claimed in recent years that a Green New Deal is "unrealistic."
 
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency for the state as the rain fell, but as Fossil Free Media director Jamie Henn tweeted, "What we really need is for [President Joe Biden] to declare a national climate emergency and do everything in his power to address this crisis."
 
Instead of saying the flooding was caused by Hurricane Ida, Henn added, policymakers and the press alike "should be saying names like 'Exxon,' 'Chevron,' and 'Shell.'"
 
"We need to keep connecting the dots back to the corporations that are fueling this crisis," Henn added.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

70% of Americans Support Deciding State Abortion Rights by Ballot Measure: Poll

After an "enormous victory" in Kansas, some progressives argue that ballot measures "are the next frontier" for protecting access to reproductive healthcare.

Jessica Corbett ·


Judge Rules Walgreens 'Substantially Contributed' to San Francisco Opioid Crisis

"Walgreens knew its system to detect and stop suspicious orders was nonexistent but continued to ship opioids at an alarming pace to increase profits," said an attorney for the California city.

Brett Wilkins ·


Historic Climate Bill, Say Clear-Eyed Critics, Still 'Pours Gasoline on the Flames'

"This was a backdoor take-it-or-leave-it deal between a coal baron and Democratic leaders in which any opposition from lawmakers or frontline communities was quashed," said one activist.

Jessica Corbett ·


Doctors Against Oz Launch Campaign Denouncing GOP Candidate as 'Quack'

"ShamWow guy + stethoscope = Dr. Oz," said John Fetterman, the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Pennsylvania.

Julia Conley ·


70+ Economists Say US Must Return $7 Billion Stolen From Afghan People

"The people of Afghanistan have been made to suffer doubly for a government they did not choose," says a new letter.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo