climate change

Photo Courtesy of Pam Rubinoff

The Hurricane of 1938 toppled some 275 million trees across New England. Today – with more trees and more buildings  – state officials see wind damage as a statewide threat because of climate change and the potential for more frequent, extreme weather events. In the next installment of our series Battle With the Sea, we look at how some homeowners are preparing to withstand winds with the force of a hurricane. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Over the course of three days, a team of experts from around the country helped Providence plan for the impacts of climate change through a grant-funded series of events called ResilientPVD Lab.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Climate Change

Feb 2, 2016

Climate change is a hot button issue, that’s for sure. Reputable survey after survey indicate that the majority of people believe that climate change is a serious problem. And then we get to the hard part: what to do about it, and about that there’s less consensus.  But what we do know is that a stalwart group of Rhode Islanders is out in front, taking the lead in remarkably earnest efforts to address this intimidating challenge.  Timmons Roberts couldn’t be more pleased.  As Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”


Timmons Roberts is professor of environmental sociology at Brown University, and helped lead the Resilient Rhode Island team in supporting the passage of the state’s first comprehensive climate change legislation.  In 2016 he’s helping a coalition working on a bill to reduce emissions and create jobs through putting a price on carbon.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A new bill that puts a tax on carbon has garnered broad support from environmental advocates, businesses, and religious groups. Supporters believe the bill, called Energize Rhode Island, will help reduce carbon emissions and stimulate the economy. 

The environmental advocacy nonprofit the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) has taken a new step this week to block the proposal for a new natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville. CLF is asking the state Energy Facility Siting Board, which is responsible for reviewing the power plant permit application, to send back the application to developer Invenergy because it’s incomplete. Rhode Island Public Radio Environmental Reporter Ambar Espinoza joined All Things Considered News Anchor Dave Fallon in the studio to share details. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Block Island has been dubbed one of “the last great places” in the western hemisphere. It has a shoreline largely untouched by development. But on the northwest corner of island, storms have been washing away at the bluffs, unearthing what used to be the island’s landfill.

RIPR File Photo

Global leaders in Paris over the weekend approved a historic international agreement to slow the warming of the planet. Here at home, the Rhode Island federal delegation is praising the climate accord, calling it a victory for the planet and future generations. Local environmental advocates and climate change experts say they are proud of programs New England has initiated to reduce acid rain and carbon emissions from power plants. Now they’re hopeful the Paris Climate Pact will steer the region away from natural gas.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

A new house in Matunuck will sustain winds of more than 130 miles per hour. It’s the first home under construction in New England built to disaster certification standards known as FORTIFIED.

After a string of severe storms in recent years, the state hopes to shift to a more rigorous building code so that homes can sustain high winds and water damage.

Rhode Island Public Radio

This week in Paris, world leaders launched a major climate change summit. The two-week meeting is aimed at negotiating an agreement to reduce carbon emissions. A group of Brown University professors and students is also at the summit. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza spoke with the group to hear what the next two weeks have in store.  

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Burrillville has become the unlikely epicenter for controversy over natural gas. The town is home to a natural gas-fired power plant, two pipelines, and two compressor stations to push gas through the pipelines.

Courtesy of Harvey Walsh NEFSC/NOAA

Young fish in the Northeast, from North Carolina to Nova Scotia, are moving north according to a recent federal study, adding to a growing body of research that shows fish populations shifting because of warmer ocean temperatures.

Ambar Espinoza

Rhode Island’s state geologist and longtime advisor to the Coastal Resources Management Council has passed away. Jon Boothroyd died unexpectedly in his home last week at age 77.

Over the course of his career, Boothroyd studied many of the biggest challenges Rhode Island faces from sea level rise and coastal erosion. 


Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian heads to New Hampshire this weekend for a summit on coastal flooding and sea level rise. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Nearly three years after Superstorm Sandy, some Rhode Island residents are still dealing with the aftermath. And it’s not just damage to buildings and property. These Rhode Islanders are struggling with mental illness related to stress. 

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Federal fisheries officials will work with coastal states including Rhode Island over the next year to ease the impact of climate change on marine resources. The fisheries division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has outlined a new strategy, which will guide regional action plans it will finalize by the end of 2016.