Title 42
State Affairs and Government

Chapter 6.2
2021 Act on Climate

R.I. Gen. Laws § 42-6.2-2

§ 42-6.2-2. Purpose of the council.

(a) The council shall have the following duties:

(1) Assess, integrate, and coordinate climate change efforts throughout state agencies to reduce emissions, strengthen the resilience of communities and infrastructure, and prepare for the effects on climate change, including, but not limited to, coordinating vulnerability assessments throughout state government;

(2)(i) No later than December 31, 2025, and every five (5) years thereafter, submit to the governor and general assembly an updated plan, following an opportunity for public comment, that includes strategies, programs, and actions to meet economy-wide enforceable targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions as follows:

(A) Ten percent (10%) below 1990 levels by 2020;

(B) Forty-five percent (45%) below 1990 levels by 2030;

(C) Eighty percent (80%) below 1990 levels by 2040;

(D) Net-zero emissions by 2050.

No action shall be brought pursuant to: subsection (a)(2)(i)(B) of this section before 2031, pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(i)(C) of this section before 2041, and pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(i)(D) of this section before 2051.

(ii) The plan shall also include procedures and public metrics for periodic measurement, not less frequently than once every five (5) years, of progress necessary to meet these targets and for evaluating the possibility of meeting higher targets through cost-effective measures.

(iii) The plan shall address in writing the annual input that is provided to the council by its advisory board, as set forth in § 42-6.2-4, and its science and technical advisory board, as set forth in § 42-6.2-5, in their reports to the council.

(iv) If a plan directs an agency to promulgate regulations, then the agency must do so by either issuing an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, as set forth in § 42-35-2.5, no later than six (6) months after the plan is released or by issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking, as set forth in § 42-35-2.7, no later than one year after the plan is released, unless the plan specifies another timeframe for an advance notice of rulemaking or a notice of rulemaking.

(v) The plan shall include an equitable transition to climate compliance for environmental justice populations, redress past environmental and public health inequities, and include a process where the interests of and people from populations most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and at risk of pollution, displacement, energy burden, and cost influence such plan.

(vi) The plan shall identify support for workers during this equitable transition to address inequity in the state by creating quality and family-sustaining clean energy jobs that pay wages and benefits consistent with or that exceed area wage and labor standards. The plan shall provide for the development of programs that directly recruit, train, and retain those underrepresented in the workforce, including women, people of color, indigenous people, veterans, formerly incarcerated people, and people living with disabilities.

(vii) The requirements under this subsection shall be subject to the enforcement provisions of § 42-6.2-10 effective in 2026.

(viii) No later than December 31, 2022, the council shall submit to the governor and the general assembly an update to the greenhouse gas emission’s reduction plan dated “December 2016” which shall not be subject to the requirements of subsections (a)(2)(ii) through (a)(2)(vi) of this section. No action shall be brought pursuant to subsection (a)(2)(viii) of this section before 2023;

(3) Advance the state’s understanding of the effects on climate change including, but not limited to: sea level rise; coastal and shoreline changes; severe weather events; critical infrastructure vulnerability; food security; and ecosystem, economic, and health impacts, including the effects of carbon pollution on children’s health;

(4) Identify strategies to prepare for these effects and communicate them to Rhode Islanders, including strategies that incentivize businesses, institutions, and industry to adapt to climate change;

(5) Work with municipalities to support the development of sustainable and resilient communities;

(6) Identify and leverage federal, state, and private funding opportunities for emission reduction and climate change preparedness and adaption work in Rhode Island;

(7) Advise the governor, the general assembly, and the public on ways to ensure that Rhode Island continues to be a national leader in developing and implementing strategies that effectively address the challenges on climate change;

(8) Work with other New England states to explore areas of mutual interest to achieve common goals; and

(9) Identify and facilitate opportunities to educate the public about climate change and efforts throughout state agencies and municipalities to address climate change.

(b) The council is encouraged to utilize the expertise of Rhode Island universities and colleges in carrying out the duties described in subsection (a) of this section, specifically to ensure that the state’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change are based on the best available scientific and technical information, and to optimize the contribution by the universities and colleges of their expertise and experience in research, analysis, modeling, mapping, applications to on-the-ground situations, technical assistance, community outreach, and public education.

History of Section.
P.L. 2014, ch. 343, § 1; P.L. 2014, ch. 392, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 205, § 1; P.L. 2017, ch. 255, § 1; P.L. 2021, ch. 1, § 2, effective April 10, 2021; P.L. 2021, ch. 2, § 2, effective April 10, 2021.