Rhode Island Climate Change Commission 2012 Progress Report - Adapting to Climate Change in the Ocean State: A Starting Point

This progress report was developed by the Rhode Island Climate Change Commission. The Commission serves to review and advance legislative recommendations, coordinate and foster climate adaptation planning and programs across Rhode Island, facilitate the “mainstreaming” of climate change and adaptation policies in existing state and local law and policy, and increase the capacity of decision-makers and citizens to prepare for and proactively adapt to the consequences of climate change. This 2012 progress report summarizes the Commission's work since its inaugural meeting in December 2011.

The report presents key climate risks and the associated social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities, as well as current and projected impacts upon human health and welfare, public and private infrastructure, and the natural environment. Climate change impacts upon Rhode Island and New England are briefly summarized, and subsequent sections review and discuss the findings to date of the Commission’s working groups. Progress in current private and public adaptation initiatives is discussed, and the report also highlights adaptation needs yet to be addressed.

Climate change assessment and adaptation initiatives for Rhode Island are listed in Appendix A.

The Rhode Island Climate Change Commission is divided into working groups by sector to assess climate change impacts on the natural environment, economy, infrastructure, and public health and welfare. The 'Key Infrastructure and Built Environment Working Group' consists of representatives from community planning, transportation, energy, buildings and structures, water supply and emergency management. Each working group considers sectoral climate impacts and identifies existing projects, resources and data for further assessment. 

An initial report from the 'Natural Resources and Habitats Working Group' is included, which briefly surveys the environmental consequences of climate change and coastal and marine acidification, and identifies the initiatives already underway in Rhode Island to respond to these impacts. The 'Human Health and Welfare Working Group' consists of representatives from public health, universities, and the Water Resources Board, which addressed concerns about the public health risks from increased heat and drought, air quality, storms, sea level rise, flooding, and public safety. 

 

Publication Date: November 2012

Related Organizations:

  • Rhode Island Climate Change Commission

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  • Progress report

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