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EC Providence Director Named to State’s New Climate Change Advisory Board

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Emerald Cities Providence Local Director Brigid Ryan has been appointed an inaugural member of the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council’s Advisory Board (RIEC4). Another of the 13 appointees also has an ECC connection – Sheila Dormody, director of policy for the City of Providence, is a founding member of the EC Providence Local Council.

The council was created by Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s February 2014 Executive Order (14-01) and codified into law in July 2014. It will lead development of a comprehensive approach that includes prevention of, preparation for and adaptation to the potential threats of climate change to the state’s environment, economy and people. That approach is to emphasize the concept of resilience and includes specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

 In addition, the law:

  • Establishes an advisory board and a science and technical advisory board to help the council; and
  • Incorporates consideration of climate change impacts into the power and duties of all state agencies.

 “This is a great opportunity not only to influence state policies on energy efficiency, but also to incorporate into resilience planning throughout Rhode Island ECC’s goal of creating greater economic equity in our communities,” Ryan said.

 By December 31, 2016, the council must submit to the governor and General Assembly a plan with strategies, programs and actions for reducing GHG emissions below 1990 levels: 10 percent by 2020, 45 percent by 2035 and 80 percent by 2050. The plan must also measure interim progress and evaluate whether the targets can be adjusted upward.

Specific duties of the council include:

  • Assessing, integrating and coordinating climate change efforts throughout state agencies to reduce emissions, strengthen the resilience of communities and prepare for the effects of climate change;
  • Advancing the state’s understanding of the effects of climate change such as sea level rise, coastal and shoreline changes, severe weather events, critical infrastructure vulnerability and ecosystem, economic, and health impacts; 
  • Identifying strategies to prepare for these effects and communicating them to Rhode Islanders;
  • Working with municipalities and other stakeholders, including the business community, academic institutions and members of the public, to support the development of sustainable and resilient communities; and
  • Identifying and leveraging federal, state and private funding opportunities for emission reduction and climate change preparedness and adaptation work in Rhode Island.

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