Rhode Island E.O. 14-01: Creates an Executive Climate Change Council

In February, 2014, Governor Lincoln Chafee signed Executive Order 14-01, creating the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Council (EC3). The Council was charged with taking a lead role in developing a comprehensive approach, including both emissions reductions and adaptation planning, to address the potential threats from climate change to the state’s environment, economy, and people. The Governor established the EC3 to advise him, the General Assembly and the public on how the State and its communities can best prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Executive Order 14-01 recognizes that climate change is already occurring and will present increasing challenges to the State of Rhode Island, its communities, businesses and residents. It establishes an Executive Climate Change Council and charges the Council with leading and coordinating state agencies in responding to these challenges in a timely and effective manner. 

Council membership consists of the state directors of Administration, Coastal Resources Management, Commerce, Emergency Management, Energy Resources, Environmental Management, Health, Planning and Transportation.

This Executive Order directs state agencies to support the work of the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Council through the development of “a climate and health profile report that documents the range of health impacts associated with climate change and identifies the most vulnerable.”


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.

The Council released its first report, "A Resilient Rhode Island: Being Practical About Climate Change," in June 2014. That report includes a preliminary action plan to improve the state's resilience to climate change.

Also, 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.
 

Publication Date: February 21, 2014

Related Organizations:

  • State of Rhode Island

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  • Executive order

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