After seven long years of ignoring the climate crisis, the Rhode Island General Assembly is finally poised to take climate action!
A new bill, “Act On Climate,” would commit the state to slash greenhouse gas emissions through a fast, just, and accountable transition to 100% renewable energy. Last year’s version of the bill was CARI’s #1 top legislative priority. This year’s version is even better.
Call to Action
Your action is needed today to help pass this bill. Use this handy web form to add your message of support for the bill. Your message will be sent automatically to two people:
- The Clerk of the Senate Environment & Agriculture Committee — as written testimony for the hearing on Wednesday, February 3.
- Your own State Senator.
Details of the Bill
A current Rhode Island state law, the Resilient Rhode Island Act of 2014, sets aspirational goals for reducing our carbon pollution: 45% by 2035 and 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels.
Unfortunately, these goals are no longer supported by science. Steeper cuts are needed here, and everywhere, to prevent catastrophic heating of the planet by 2.7°F or more. Worse yet, the 2014 law provides no means of accountability or enforcement if the state fails to meet these goals.
The 2021 Act On Climate bill fixes these problems with an amendment to the 2014 law. The bill requires:
- Faster emission reductions: 45% cut by 2030 instead of 2035; 80% cut by 2040 instead of 2050; and 100% cut (net zero emissions) by 2050, consistent with current climate science.
- Accountability and transparency: emission reduction targets will become legally binding. The state will have to publish plans, metrics, and a dashboard. If the state fails to follow the law, it can be enforced.
- Attention to job creation and a just transition: the state’s plans must include input from vulnerable communities, address public health and environmental inequities, and develop a diverse, well-paid, clean-energy workforce.
Passing this bill will set a solid foundation for all future laws to address the climate crisis in Rhode Island. It will make Rhode Island a national leader in matching our policy to science. And it will strengthen our economy with good jobs, improved health, and locally produced power.
Getting It Passed
The bill has strong support from Assembly leaders, the environmental community, and organized labor. But the fossil-fuel lobby, big-business lobby, and science denialists will be out in force to oppose it. That’s why we need your support today.
To register your support for the bill, just visit this web page. It should just take a couple minutes.
In addition, you may wish to sign up to give live testimony by phone during the hearing on Wednesday. Check the committee agenda linked below for instructions on how to do that.
- Full text of Senate Bill 78, Act On Climate
- Agenda for Senate Environment & Agriculture Committee, Wednesday Feb. 3
- Bill summary from the Conservation Law Foundation and Audubon Society of Rhode Island
- Climate Jobs Rhode Island Group (labor/environment coalition)
- Video of Amy Moses, Conservation Law Foundation VP, explaining the bill