State officials hosted a ceremonial signing this afternoon in North Kingstown Town Beach for Rhode Island’s first comprehensive climate change bill. Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law last month.
The governor noted Wickford Cove experienced a little tsunami last year. He said that’s just one reason why the General Assembly passed this bill into law: to better prepare the state for future extreme weather events.
A large banner that said, “Working Together for a Resilient Rhode Island” hung on stage during the ceremony. The governor defined what it "resilience" means.
“The capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by comprehensive stress. All of these things are happening because of climate change," Chafee said. "And we want to regain our size and shape after this deformation caused by tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes. They’re all occurring with increasing frequency and we want to prepare.”
The ceremonial signing of the bill is a symbol of recognition to the massive effort it took to pass this bill, even though the governor signed it into law last month, said Abel Collins, one of many environmental advocates who helped to push this bill forward. Collins was pleased the ceremony drew a crowd of about 100 people.
“It’ll give the impetus to these policymakers to keep this issue on the front burners,” said Collins. “So hopefully Gov. Chafee—after seeing this great crowd—will name members to the advisory committee that’s associated with the Climate Change Coordinating Council.”
The new law charges the recently created climate change coordinating council to outline how the state is going to achieve its emission reduction goals. Collins says the sooner the governor appoints people to the advisory committees, the more time the council will have to thoroughly develop strategies to meet those target goals.
WEB EXTRAS: Excerpts of some of the remarks made during the signing ceremony.
Editor's note: This post has been updated.