The Executive Climate Change Council (EC3), recently established by Gov. Lincoln Chafee, released a preliminary report about how the state should prepare for climate change. The EC3 includes representatives from various state agencies, including the departments of health, environment, and transportation.
Chafee said it’s important to tap into resources and talents across all sectors to develop coordinated statewide solutions to such threats as extreme weather events. Some of those steps may include moving roads, elevating buildings, or covering equipment.
“Since I’ve been in office, we’ve had a number of storms in the three and a half years that I’ve been here, whether it’s Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Irene, the Blizzard Nemo, and prior to my taking office the Floods of 2010,” said Chafee. “So it’s all happening and we want to prepare for it.”
Chafee is asking Rhode Islanders to go to the state’s website to review the report and provide feedback. The climate change council has two more weeks to include public comments and finalize the report.
Janet Coit, EC3 chair and director of the Department of Environmental Management, said the council is also taking a close look at what areas of the state are most vulnerable to impacts, in addition to making recommendations.
“The state is compelled to take a look at what state assets—and we’re asking communities to look at their assets—are most vulnerable,” said Coit. “So [for example], our Department of Health did an assessment of drinking water supplies: what drinking water suppliers are subject to flooding events?”
Coit hopes the report informs legislation introduced in the General Assembly and sets a foundation for the next administration to build on.