Rhode Island climate panel approves update on 2016 plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management shared this photo of solar panels at East Matunuck State Beach.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — An update to Rhode Island’s plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions was approved Thursday by the state’s climate change panel.

This modification was done to ensure the plan, which was first formed in 2016, is in compliance with Rhode Island’s 2021 Act on Climate law that aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Our office is fully focused on and committed to putting Rhode Island on a more sustainable pathway to create a future of net-zero GHG emissions, and all executive branch agencies are too,” Gov. Dan McKee said Thursday following the approved update. “The EC4’s updated climate plan and action today are a strong start.”

A statement by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management emphasized Thursday’s plan and updates moving forward will prioritize equity by recognizing “the adverse impacts of a warming climate are not felt equitably among people and commit the state to correcting historical systemic inequities in delivering climate-related policies and programs.”

The Conservation Law Foundation responded to this update Friday, agreeing it is a good start but also explained that more work must be done.

“Rhode Island clearly has a lot of work to do when it comes to meeting the demands of the climate crisis,” Darrèll Brown, vice president of CLF Rhode Island said. “The plan that the council approved today is a good first step, and it recommends some much-needed policies like electrifying transit fleets and expanding incentives for clean, efficient heat pumps. But this experience showed us how much time it takes to create an inclusive climate plan — we need to get to work now on the plan’s next iteration which is due in 2025.”

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