Local Nonprofit: Adapting To More Frequent, Intense Storms Will Cost Money

Nov 1, 2017

People’s Power and Light, a local nonprofit that advocates for clean energy, says Rhode Island and Massachusetts residents will have to pay to adapt to more frequent and intense storms. 

As of 7 a.m., tens of thousands of people in both states remain without power after a storm with hurricane-strength winds swept through the area Sunday night. 

Scientists say major storms like these are expected to happen more often because of climate change.

Larry Chretien, executive director at People’s Power and Light, said the effects of climate change are already taking place, such as rising sea levels and record-setting hurricanes.

"There is a certain amount of climate change already baked into the cake, is what I’m trying to say, and that’s going to imply we’re going to have to deal with it," Chretien said. "So we’re either going to have to suffer the consequences or we’re either going to have to spend money to adapt to it."

Chretien said the best way for people to adapt to these changes is by taking on private costs, like flood insurance, and taking on public costs as well. 

“Meaning paying taxes to state and local government so that they can have better emergency response when necessary, or improving sea walls that will help reduce the potential for serious flooding and high wind damage,” Chretien said. 

Chretien said it’s also up to state lawmakers to make climate change a priority.