Rhode Island’s Battle Against Climate Change: Key Actions and Achievements

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Rhode Island, the Ocean State, is not only defined by its picturesque coastline and historic charm but also by its proactive stance in the battle against climate change. As one of the states most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, Rhode Island has taken decisive action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to changing environmental conditions, and build resilience in the face of climate-related challenges. In this article, we will explore some of the key actions and achievements that Rhode Island has undertaken in its ongoing fight against climate change.

1. Setting Ambitious Emissions Reduction Goals

Rhode Island has set ambitious emissions reduction goals aimed at mitigating the impacts of climate change and transitioning to a clean energy future. These goals align with the state’s commitment to the Paris Agreement and its recognition of the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming.

Example: Executive Order 20-01

In January 2020, Governor Gina Raimondo signed Executive Order 20-01, which established Rhode Island’s commitment to achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This landmark executive order set in motion a comprehensive planning process to identify strategies and actions to achieve this goal, including transitioning to renewable energy sources, improving energy efficiency, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

2. Investing in Renewable Energy

Rhode Island has made significant investments in renewable energy to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and promote clean, sustainable energy sources. These investments have helped to diversify the state’s energy portfolio, create jobs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Example: Offshore Wind Development

Rhode Island is a national leader in offshore wind energy development, with the Block Island Wind Farm being the first offshore wind farm in the United States. The state has continued to support the expansion of offshore wind energy through initiatives such as the Rhode Island Renewable Energy Growth Program and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources’ offshore wind procurement efforts. These efforts have positioned Rhode Island as a hub for offshore wind development and have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.

3. Enhancing Resilience and Adaptation

Rhode Island is taking proactive steps to enhance resilience and adaptation to the impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise, increased storm intensity, and extreme weather events. These efforts aim to protect critical infrastructure, natural resources, and communities vulnerable to climate-related hazards.

Example: Resilient Rhody

Resilient Rhody is Rhode Island’s statewide resilience planning initiative, which brings together government agencies, community organizations, and stakeholders to develop strategies and actions to enhance resilience to climate change. The initiative focuses on building resilience in key sectors such as transportation, energy, public health, and natural resources, and incorporates principles of equity and social justice to ensure that vulnerable communities are not disproportionately impacted by climate-related hazards.

4. Promoting Sustainable Transportation

Rhode Island is promoting sustainable transportation options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, which is one of the largest sources of emissions in the state. These efforts include investments in public transit, electric vehicles, and alternative transportation modes.

Example: Transit Forward Rhode Island

Transit Forward Rhode Island is a comprehensive transit planning initiative aimed at improving public transit service and infrastructure throughout the state. The initiative includes investments in transit expansion, infrastructure upgrades, and technology improvements to make public transit more accessible, convenient, and environmentally friendly. By promoting sustainable transportation options, Rhode Island is reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector and creating a more sustainable and equitable transportation system.

5. Engaging Communities and Stakeholders

Rhode Island recognizes the importance of engaging communities and stakeholders in the fight against climate change. Community engagement efforts help to raise awareness, build consensus, and ensure that climate policies and initiatives reflect the needs and priorities of Rhode Islanders.

Example: Climate Resilience Toolkit

The Rhode Island Climate Resilience Toolkit is a comprehensive online resource that provides information, tools, and resources to help communities and stakeholders understand and address climate-related risks and vulnerabilities. The toolkit includes interactive maps, case studies, best practices, and guidance documents on topics such as sea-level rise, extreme weather, and coastal flooding. By providing accessible and user-friendly information, the toolkit empowers communities to take action to enhance resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change.


Rhode Island’s battle against climate change is a testament to the state’s commitment to protecting the environment, promoting sustainability, and safeguarding the well-being of its residents. Through ambitious emissions reduction goals, investments in renewable energy, enhancements to resilience and adaptation, promotion of sustainable transportation, and engagement of communities and stakeholders, Rhode Island is leading by example in the fight against climate change.

As the impacts of climate change continue to intensify, Rhode Island remains steadfast in its dedication to addressing this global challenge. By working collaboratively across sectors and engaging all Rhode Islanders in the process, the state is forging a path toward a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable future for generations to come. Through continued leadership, innovation, and commitment, Rhode Island will continue to set benchmarks in the fight against climate change and inspire others to join in the effort to protect our planet.

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