Rhode Island Rising: A Plan for People, Places, and Prosperity

From the Rhode Island state government, this plan outlines the state’s long term vision for economic development. The majority of this plan is dedicated to general economic development concerns such as income, job growth, and regulations, but it also contains a substantial section focused on climate adaptation (Goal 5, pgs. 97-115). Rising air and water temperatures, increasing precipitation, extreme weather, and sea level rise were identified as significant climate threats to Rhode Island’s economy. In particular, aging and climate-vulnerable infrastructure poses the greatest challenge to Rhode Island’s long-term safety. Recommendations are provided for how Rhode Island can best build a climate resilient economy.

As described in the report, addressing climate change in Rhode island will require both reactive and proactive strategies. Reactive strategies include actions that address the immediate impacts of sea level rise and flooding to protect the state’s people and assets. Example proactive strategies include research and innovation in industries and sectors that will be impacted by climate change such as tourism, agriculture, and defense. Focusing on infrastructure, including roads, transit, bridges, airports, ports, wastewater and water supply systems, and energy infrastructure, will be critical for both responding effectively and proactively preparing for the future.  

Five broad policies aimed at promoting climate resilience in the state are recommended:

  • Support investments in sustainable built infrastructure to support economic activity, commerce, and benefits to communities
  • Support investments in innovative technology infrastructure
  • Adopt an energy policy that keeps Rhode Island competitive
  • Educate and empower state and local government to increase climate change preparedness and adaptation
  • Strengthen regional economic resilience and harness opportunities for innovation

For each recommendation, a number of specific adaptive actions were identified that the state can take. Some example strategies given are to: identify test sites to support resiliency related product innovation, develop policy and practical support around the ‘green economy,’ and to support a more thorough vulnerability assessment of Rhode Island’s ports. 

 

 

Publication Date: December 2014

Related Organizations:

  • Rhode Island State Planning Program

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  • Plans (other)

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