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Rhode Island 2021 Act on Climate

April 10, 2021

On April 10, 2021, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed the Rhode Island 2021 Act on Climate into law, amending the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014 by making mandatory greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets more enforceable, adding a goal of net-zero by 2050, and requiring actions to promote equity and environmental justice. The new law requires the state Climate Council — established by the 2014 bill — to develop and periodically update a plan to reach these goals. New language also requires the state Council’s plan to include an equitable transition, and address environmental injustices.

Related Organizations: State of Rhode Island

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Providence, Rhode Island - Climate Justice Plan: Creating an Equitable, Low-Carbon, and Climate Resilient Future

2019

Co-created by the Office of Sustainability and the Racial and Environmental Justice Committee (REJC) of the City of Providence, Rhode Island, this Climate Justice Plan lays the foundation for socially equitable climate mitigation and adaptation. Providence Mayor Elorza has set a goal for the city to become carbon neutral by 2050, with frontline communities to “lead the charge. ” The Plan includes seven key objectives and over 50 mitigation as well as adaptation strategies developed to concurrently achieve carbon neutrality, climate resilience and social climate justice in Providence.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Rhode Island Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP)

June 2018

In June 2018, the State of Rhode Island’s Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC) adopted the Rhode Island Shoreline Change Special Area Management Plan (Beach SAMP) to help Rhode Island’s coastal communities better adapt to the impacts of climate and shoreline changes. The Beach SAMP includes various guidance and tools for policymakers and coastal managers. In Chapter 5, CRMC presents the Coastal Hazard Application Guidance” - a five-step risk assessment framework developed for applicants to address the coastal hazards from climate change in permit applications submitted to CRMC for new and substantially improved projects. The purpose of the Coastal Hazard Application Guidance is to ensure that: (1) permit applicants are aware of the coastal risks that could impact their projects; and (2) CRMC can approve projects that are better able to adapt and are more resilient to these risks to increase safety and other benefits for communities, the environment, and the state’s economy. Through a subsequent regulatory amendment, CRMC now requires (since July 2019) that permit applicants submit a Coastal Hazard Application worksheet with their applications to CRMC. Chapter 7 of the Beach SAMP outlines a suite of adaptation measures property owners and decisionmakers can consider, including protection, accommodation, and relocation or managed retreat. The Beach SAMP provides a useful example of innovative shoreline change planning, and serves as a policy model for other state agencies and local governments on how to ensure new development and redevelopment can better adapt and be more resilient to climate change and other coastal hazards.

Related Organizations: Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Patterns and Projections of High Tide Flooding Along the U.S. Coastline Using a Common Impact Threshold

February 2018

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) analyzes "high tide flooding" (also known as "nuisance flooding") in this report, and finds that it is becoming more commonplace due to sea level rise. High tide flooding impacts roads, beaches, parks, and private property, and is generally more disruptive than damaging. However, there are places such as Norfolk, Virginia; San Diego, California; and the U. S Marshall islands where it is currently a serious problem. Even more, with continued sea level rise, flooding is likely to increase.

Related Organizations: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Authors or Affiliated Users: William Sweet, Greg Dusek, Jayantha Obeysekera, John Marra

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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New England and Northern New York Forest Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment and Synthesis: A Report from the New England Climate Change Response Framework Project

January 2018

Led by the U. S. Forest Service (USFS)’s Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science, this assessment evaluates the climate change vulnerability of forested ecosystems in the New England region (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, northern New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont). The report summarizes the current state of forests in the region including threats and management trends, describes climate impacts as they would progress under projected future climate scenarios, and relays the results of an extensive vulnerability assessment of the region’s forests.

Related Organizations: Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science (NIACS)

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Rhode Island Socioeconomics of Sea Level Rise

2016/2017

A project from the Rhode Island Division of Statewide Planning, Socioeconomics of Sea Level Rise (SLR) identifies the demographic and socioeconomic makeup of the communities located within multiple sea level rise inundation scenarios in Rhode Island. Serving as a resource in sea level rise planning, the Division suggests that data included in this project can be used for capital improvement planning, transportation planning, and overall long-range planning in communities.

Related Organizations: Rhode Island State Planning Program

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Rhode Island Coastal Setbacks and Coastal Buffer Zones

November 29, 2017

Rhode Island, under the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC), mandates erosion-oriented setbacks and Coastal Buffer Zones (Rhode Island Administrative Code 650 20-00-1. 1, Adopted November 2017). The Rhode Island CRMC is the state’s regulatory coastal management agency. These regulations better protect structures and conserve important coastal ecosystems by determining setbacks and buffers based on accelerating rates of sea-level rise and erosion. Setbacks are based on average annual rates of erosion as measured on localized, property-scale maps.

Related Organizations: Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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The State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed

2017

This analysis assesses the current conditions and projected trends for the Narragansett Bay, a watershed that spans Rhode Island and Massachusetts and is home to 1. 95 million people. The research is the culmination of multiple years of study by universities, organizations, federal partners, and agencies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The results are presented in a shorter summary document and a 500-page technical report. In addition to other stressors including water quality and pollution, urbanization, and changes to habitats, the researchers look at the impacts of climate change now and in the future.

Related Organizations: Narragansett Bay Estuary Program

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Rhode Island H 5042/S 1005 2017: Flooding and Sea Level Rise Training for Municipal Planning Boards and Commissions

September 27, 2017

Rhode Island has approved legislation that requires all members of local planning boards and commissions to participate in a training program on the impacts of flooding and sea level rise to the state. One of the priorities is to help ensure that local decision makers can calculate the effects of sea level rise and flooding on development and land use in flood plains. The training is a free two-hour course required once every two years, for both coastal and inland municipalities - as flooding is expected on inland rivers and waterways as sea level rises as well.

Related Organizations: State of Rhode Island

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Rhode Island E.O. 17-10: Action Plan to Stand up To Climate Change

September 15, 2017

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo signed Executive Order 17-10 on September 15, 2017 to establish a Chief Resilience Officer who will work collaboratively with partners to develop a statewide “Action Plan to Stand Up to Climate Change” by July 1, 2018. The Order recognizes that Rhode Island and its 400 miles of coastline is highly vulnerable to climate change, particularly risks related to warmer weather and waters, sea level rise, more intense storms, and flooding.

Related Organizations: State of Rhode Island

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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