Updated September 1 at 7:01pm

Chafee creates executive council on climate change

Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee on Friday signed an executive order creating the R.I. Executive Climate Change Council, an agency formed to advise the governor, the General Assembly and the public on environmental best practices and strategies to address the challenge of global climate change.

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Chafee creates executive council on climate change

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PROVIDENCE – Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee on Friday signed an executive order creating the R.I. Executive Climate Change Council, an agency formed to advise the governor, the General Assembly and the public on environmental best practices and strategies to address the challenge of global climate change.

R.I. Department of Environmental Management Director Janet Coit will chair the newly created council, which will comprise the leaders of the Coastal Resources Management Council, the Department of Administration, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health, the Emergency Management Agency, the Office of Energy Resources, the Division of Planning and the R.I. Commerce Corporation.

“I am establishing the council because for too long there has been strong evidence and scientific consensus that man-made greenhouse gases will have profound effects on global climate, weather patterns and ocean conditions – effects that the state cannot afford to ignore,” said Chafee in a statement. “Rhode Island must act boldly to position the state as a national leader in climate adaptation with a comprehensive approach that will benefit our communities and businesses.”

The Executive Climate Change Council will work closely with Rhode Island cities and towns to prepare communities for the impacts of climate change – including coastal erosion, shifting weather patterns and rising sea levels – as well as identify and leverage federal, state and private funding opportunities for emissions reduction. The council will also play a role in Rhode Island’s continuing collaboration with other New England governors and the premiers of eastern Canadian provinces in developing a regional environmental strategy.

Under the executive order, the governor of Rhode Island will receive a formal report with findings, recommendations and status updates on key objectives by May 1, 2014, with subsequent reports due yearly on May 1.

“Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to ensuring the health and resilience of our natural resources, infrastructure and quality of life,” said Coit. “I look forward to working with the council over the coming months to develop an action plan that will address the impacts of climate change on Rhode Island.”

Lincoln D. Chafee, R.I. Executive Climate Change Council, Janet Coit, Department of Environmental Management, DEM,

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