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RI gets C+ on global warming effort

As the Phoenix's David Bernstein recently noted, it's big business and China that stand to make the greatest impact in reducing the threat of global warming. Yet a regional report card by environmental advocates in New England and Canada gives Rhode Island a measly C+ for the state's effforts to preclude this looming enviro-catastrophe:

Over the past year Rhode Island made improvements in reducing global warming pollution from the electricity sector by joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and implementing for the first time an efficiency program for the state's natural gas users. 

 

However, the report card made clear that much more can be done. In particular, Rhode Island needs a comprehensive and enforceable plan to achieve pollution reductions on the order of 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. To achieve those kinds of reductions Rhode Island must get serious about reducing emissions from the transportation sector-- the largest contributor to global warming pollution in the state.

 

"While we have made some progress, Rhode Island needs solutions as big as the problem global warming presents," said Denise Parrillo, Campaign Organizer from Clean Water Action. "It's time we legislate 80% reductions in global warming pollution by the year 2050.  These are the reductions scientists say are necessary."

 

The Report Card not only gauges how well the states and provinces are implementing global warming policies but also whether or not they are on track to meet the 2010 pollution reduction target. Rhode Island is failing, according to emissions data.  If Rhode Island is to stabilize and then decrease its amount of carbon dioxide pollution, stronger and more comprehensive legislation must be passed.

 

"Rhode Island's score reflects real steps to reduce global warming pollution but also the need for broader action across the board, especially in the transportation sector, if we are to achieve the goals set by the Governors and avert the devastating impacts climate change will have on the state's coast and inland environment," said Cynthia Giles, Director of the Conservation Law Foundation Rhode Island Advocacy Center.  

 

 There is growing public support for legislation calling for more action. On November 5, 2007, hundreds of Rhode Islanders flocked to Roger William Park Zoo for the kick off of the GO BIG little rhody campaign, which calls for 80% reductions in global warming pollution by 2050.

 

"Rhode Island needs a comprehensive plan to fight global warming that matches what climate scientists say we must do avoid the worst impacts of global warming," said Matt Auten, Advocate with Environment Rhode Island. "That's why more than 25 organizations and hundreds of Rhode Islanders have joined the GO BIG little rhody campaign to mandate 80% reductions by 2050."

 

Rhode Island's policy grade of a C+ ties it with Newfoundland and Labrador.  Quebec received a B+, the region's highest grade.  New Hampshire received the lowest, a C-.

 

The state received a C+ last year and a B- in 2005.

 

In June of this year, all of the New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers recommitted to the 2001 regional climate agreement The agreement outlines global warming policies the states and provinces should be implementing and commits the region to the following goals:

 

        Reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2010

        Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 10% below 1990 levels by 2020.

        Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 75-85% in the long-term.

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