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RI Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council

Executive Climate Change Council Report (June 2014)

Mandate and Mission

In February, 2014, Governor Lincoln Chafee signed Executive Order 14-01, creating the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Council (EC3), in recognition of the strong evidence and scientific consensus that manmade greenhouse gases are causing an overall rise in global temperatures that are predicted to have profound effects on global climate, weather patterns, ocean conditions as well as terrestrial environments. The Governor’s charge to the Council was to take a lead role in developing a comprehensive approach to address the potential threats from climate change the State’s environment, economy and its people.  That approach includes both reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and preparation for (and adapting to) impacts that can no longer be avoided.  Agencies are asked to “lead by example” and to optimize effectiveness and efficiency through coordination, among themselves and with others.

Contact the Council
Elizabeth Stone
401-222-4700 X 2422

In July, 2014, the General Assembly passed, and Governor Chafee signed, legislation that codifies the executive order, establishing the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4).  It also sets specific greenhouse gas reduction targets; establishes an advisory board and a science and technical advisory board to assist the Council; and incorporates consideration of climate change impacts into the powers and duties of all state agencies. 

Both the executive order and the legislation emphasize the concept of resilience, building on our collective strength to develop practical solutions that allow us to “weather the storm.”

Specific duties of the Council include:

  • Assessing, integrating, and coordinating climate change efforts throughout state agencies to reduce emissions, strengthen the resilience of communities, and prepare for the effects of climate change, including, but not limited to, coordinating vulnerability assessments throughout state government;
  • Advancing the state’s understanding of the effects of climate change including, but not limited to, sea level rise, coastal and shoreline changes, severe weather events, critical infrastructure vulnerability, and ecosystem, economic, and health impacts;
  • Identifying strategies to prepare for these effects and communicating them to Rhode Islanders;
  • Submitting a plan to the Governor and General Assembly no later than December 31, 2016, with strategies, programs and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 1990 levels: 10% by 2020, 45% by 2035, and 80% by 2050; as well as measuring progress in the interim and evaluating whether these targets can be adjusted upward;
  • Working with municipalities and other stakeholders, including the business community, academic institutions and members of the public, to support the development of sustainable and resilient communities;
  • Identifying and leveraging federal, state, and private funding opportunities for emission reduction and climate change preparedness and adaptation work in Rhode Island.