The cost of building sea barriers that would protect New York City and parts of New Jersey from storm surges is likely to run as high as $23 billion, according to the Dutch scientist commissioned by New York City to study how it might respond to the extreme weather events and rising sea levels brought about by climate change.

The cost estimate has caused sticker shock among some elected officials, most notably New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has bristled at the proposal, even after Superstorm Sandy flooded vast swaths of Coney Island, Lower Manhattan and Queens and left 43 people dead.

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