Climate Change

Climate change refers to the anthropogenically-altered (human-caused) shifts in global climate patterns attributed to increased levels of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from burning fossil fuels. Particularly, this coincides with an increase in global surface temperature (global warming). The impacts of climate change threaten Rhode Island's public health, energy supplies, economy, and coastal areas. The Department supports a wide range of mitigation programs to reduce in-state GHG emissions in accordance with the 2021 Act on Climate.

What is Climate Change?

Video Credit: RIDOH

Tracking Climate Change

The Department maintains Rhode Island's official greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory in accordance with the 2021 Act on Climate. The GHG emissions inventory is critical for assessing progress related to reducing economy-wide GHG emissions. An accurate inventory can also inform policy writers of steps needed to meet our climate goals. Additionally, visit the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council's (EC4) Climate Change Dashboard to view progress related towards reducing economy-wide emissions and building climate resiliency. 

Reducing Emissions

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory market-based program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a cooperative effort among Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from large fossil-fueled power plants. The regional initiative has been successful in reducing GHG in the participating states, reducing CO2 emissions from the power sector by more than 50% by 2018. Additionally, visit the hydrofluorocarbons page to learn how the Department is reducing HFC emissions.

Additional Resources

Climate change is a global issue that requires solutions on a regional and local scale. In addition to responding at the state level, Rhode Island collaborates with other states to address climate change’s unique challenges in the northeastern U.S. Regional collaboration greatly amplifies local adoption, and benefits that are created locally will ultimately be seen on a regional, national, and global scale. See below to learn more about climate change, view archived reports, and visit relevant pages.