climate change


A Brown University class focused on international climate change policy will culminate the semester this month with hands-on learning in Lima, Peru. That’s where two weeks of U.N. climate negotiations begin today.  More than 150 countries will get together to continue drafting agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Timmons Roberts, Ittleson Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at Brown University, has attended U.N. climate talks since 2003, helping think tanks and developing countries with research.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Last week, we brought you the story of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s visit to Rhode Island. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse brought the Democratic senator, a strong coal advocate, to witness how climate change is wearing away the landscape here. Manchin learned from fishermen what challenges they’re facing in a changing ocean. Rhode Island Public Radio’s environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza brings you the second part of this story, when Manchin sees the effects climate change is having on land. 

Hans Hillewaert via Creative Commons License

NOAA Fisheries issued emergency measures last week to protect Gulf of Maine cod. On the heels of this emergency action, the New England Fishery Management Council has recommended new restrictions to address the depleted cod population, as it finalizes next year’s fishing management measures for several fish.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rapidly rising sea levels and severe weather threaten every community and natural habitat in the Ocean State, not just along the coast. Through a new ongoing series we’re calling, Battle With The Sea, Rhode Island Public Radio will examine the range and scope of these threats from city to city and town to town, and the solutions to prepare and strengthen Rhode Island for future threats to come.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse says the new climate change deal between the U.S. and China is good news for Rhode Island.  

The U.S. is committing to reducing carbon emissions 28 percent by 2025.

Whitehouse sais though Rhode Island is not a major carbon polluting state, it’s already feeling the effects of climate change. “Particularly with rising sea levels, Narragansett Bay is 3 to 4 degrees warmer, the winter flounder catch has virtually collapsed,” said Whitehouse.

Tom Kleindinst © Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

A research team led by the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography will embark on an expedition to collect sediment samples of the deep seafloor beginning tomorrow for 38 days. The team wants to reconstruct how and why the earth’s temperature has changed over the last 20,000 years.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Rhode Island's high unemployment rate is at the top of many voters’ minds this election season. This year’s gubernatorial candidates have offered different ways to create jobs. But the Ocean State’s next governor will also need to tackle a wide range of environmental issues. As part of our Rhody Votes ’14 coverage, Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza explores what those issues are.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Bird populations are declining across many keys habitats in the country, according to the most comprehensive report of the health of our nation’s birds, the State of the Birds 2014, created by the nation’s top bird science and conservation groups. 

The report brings good news, too, said Laura Carberry, refuge manager for Fisherville Brooke Wildlife Refuge in Exeter.

Carberry said the report highlights the recovery of bird populations in places where states invested in conservation. In Rhode Island, for example, the population of piping plovers is rising again.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

State officials hosted a ceremonial signing this afternoon in North Kingstown Town Beach for Rhode Island’s first comprehensive climate change bill. Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law last month.

The governor noted Wickford Cove experienced a little tsunami last year. He said that’s just one reason why the General Assembly passed this bill into law: to better prepare the state for future extreme weather events.

Cleanliness Of Narragansett Bay Improving Steadily

Jul 29, 2014
Catherine Welch / RIPR

"Watershed Counts," a collection of information that focuses on the water quality of the state's beaches, reports that the health of Narragansett Bay is improving. However, the report also monitors the effects of global warming and pollution on the bay and has found that beaches are still being closed due to higher than average bacterial levels in the water. 

Nicole Rohr of the University of Rhode Island's Coastal Institute worked on the report. She says climate change is causing more unpredictable storms, which has led to more polluted runoff into the bay. 

A program designed to help Rhode Island's older adult population prepare for climate change threats is one of several projects that will receive federal money as part of the state's disaster recovery action plan.  This program will receive $150,000 over the next two years.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Pablo Rodriguez joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss the latest developments related to 38 Studios; competing legislative plans on funding infrastructure improvements; Governor Chafee's effectiveness as a lame duck; and the impact in Rhode Island of climate change.

Don Boorman

The Environment Council of Rhode Island will host its annual Earth Day at the Statehouse Wednesday.  The event is also called Earth Lobby Day.

The coalition of more than 60 environmental groups wants to bring attention to key environmental bills under consideration, as state lawmakers begin the last leg of the 2014 legislative session. 

Channing Jones, campaign director of Environment Rhode Island, a member of the coalition, said the event is an opportunity for the environmental community to do a group push for priorities they share.

Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Angel Taveras on Tuesday -- Earth Day -- unveiled a seven-point environmental proposal that he called a blueprint for making Rhode Island the national leader in environmental stewardship.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is embarking on a road trip along the southeast coast of the United States to talk about climate change.

Last month, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse went to Iowa to urge Iowans to make climate change a key issue there during the 2016 presidential election cycle. He’s concerned about the ways in which climate change is already affecting Rhode Island. He wants the nation to tackle the issue together.