Executive Order 17-06

Reaffirming Rhode Island’s Commitment to the Principles of the Paris Climate Agreement

WHEREAS, Rhode Island, like much of the world, faces significant environmental and economic uncertainties related to the damaging effects of climate change;

WHEREAS, Rhode Island is home to a wealth of historic parks, beaches, forestlands and some 150,000 acres of conservation lands that contribute to its natural beauty, strengthen its resilience, and promote quality of life, tourism and a stronger economy;

WHEREAS, the Narragansett Bay is New England’s largest estuary and attracts 12 million people each year, and is a treasure that must be preserved for future generations of Rhode Islanders;

WHEREAS, Rhode Island acknowledges that action is needed now, not just in the future, to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions to protect our people, our habitat, and our economy;

WHEREAS, Rhode Island has been a leader in establishing greenhouse gas mitigation and climate change adaptation measures;

WHEREAS, in order to dramatically accelerate the use of clean energy in Rhode Island, on March 1, 2017, I announced that the state will meet a goal of at least one thousand megawatts of clean energy by 2020, a 10-fold increase, by building on existing policies and programs and by identifying new opportunities to secure cost-effective clean energy resources to benefit all Rhode Islanders;

WHEREAS, in my State of the State address on January 17, 2017, I established a goal to double the number of clean-energy jobs in Rhode Island, reaching at least twenty thousand jobs by 2020;

WHEREAS, the 2017 Rhode Island Clean Energy Jobs Report shows that the State is on target to meet that goal and details that, since 2014, clean-energy employment in the Ocean State has grown by an impressive 66 percent;

WHEREAS, the Resilient Rhode Island Act set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, to 45 percent below 1990 levels by 2035, and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050;

WHEREAS, Rhode Island is one of nine member states of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cooperative effort that represents the first cap-and-trade program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

WHEREAS, on December 8, 2015, I issued Executive Order 15-17 to establish a Lead By Example Program within the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources to achieve robust clean-energy goals across State government, including, but not limited to, procurement of 100 percent of State government electricity consumption from renewable sources by 2025 and an overall reduction in energy consumption of at least 10 percent below FY14 levels by the end of FY19;

WHEREAS, Rhode Island is home to North America’s first operational offshore wind farm located off the coast of Block Island;

WHEREAS, in order to offer clean-energy project financing for Rhode Island, the General Assembly, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and I worked collaboratively to

WHEREAS, the Governor’s Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) has begun the critical work of assessing how to meet or exceed those greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and issued Rhode Island’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction plan in December 2016;

WHEREAS, in order to offer clean-energy project financing for Rhode Island, the General Assembly, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, and I worked collaboratively to establish the green financing programs at the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank, which saves taxpayer dollars, creates clean-energy jobs, and helps protect our environment;

WHEREAS, in order to realize our clean-energy future and unlock access to more innovative and sustainable energy solutions for Rhode Island families and businesses, I directed the Office of Energy Resources, the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers, and the Public Utilities Commission on March 2, 2017 to develop a set of proposals for a more dynamic energy regulatory framework, with proposals to foster Power Sector Transformation due no later than November 1, 2017;

WHEREAS, following the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement, Rhode Island became one of the first seven states to sign on to the United States Climate Alliance with California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Washington; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island recognizes that addressing climate change and building a robust economy are not mutually exclusive goals and that our efforts consistently attract new investment and spur new employment opportunities for Rhode Island workers.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GINA M. RAIMONDO, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do hereby order and direct the following:

  1. The State of Rhode Island shall remain dedicated to the principles of the Paris Climate Agreement.

  2. The State shall reaffirm its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, with the goal of doing our part to hold the increase in global temperatures at or below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

  3. State agencies, with the coordination and support from the EC4, shall take all necessary actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Resilient Rhode Island Act, the Lead by Example program established by Executive Order 15-17, and other applicable law.

  4. The State shall continue to seek out regional opportunities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, including through strengthening the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and creating new market-based mechanisms to price the cost of carbon emissions. 

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

So Ordered,

Gina M. Raimondo