Colin Durrant, CLF Director of Communications
Providence, RI (November 4, 2007) – Residents rallied with major state elected officials and environmental groups at the Roger Williams Park Zoo today to launch the GO BIG little rhody campaign to slash global warming pollution in the Ocean State 80 percent by 2050.
“I am excited to be a part of launching this ambitious, yet important, public awareness campaign. Rhode Island has been a national leader in promoting clean and renewable energy, but we have much more to accomplish,” said Congressman Jim Langevin. “While GO BIG little rhody presses for changes with the General Assembly, I will continue to advocate for changes on the federal level. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Safe Climate Act, which if passed, would freeze global warming emissions from the U.S. starting in 2010 and aggressively reduce them in subsequent years to reach a goal of 80 percent of 1990 levels by 2050.”
“The enthusiasm for this campaign makes it clear that there is now a public will to match the dire need to address the pressing challenge of global warming,” said Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline. “In the City of Providence, we have committed ourselves to the principles of sustainability with our new comprehensive plan, we have conducted a greenhouse gas emissions audit, and purchased renewable energy credits for the first time in our city’s history. But we all must do more as this great event so clearly illustrates.”
“Left unchecked global warming will have devastating impacts on Rhode Island’s coastline, our beaches and Narragansett Bay,” said Matt Auten, an Advocate with Environment Rhode Island. “We need meaningful action to address global warming, action that matches the steps scientists say we must take. That’s why we are launching the GO BIG little rhody campaign, whose goals are to get Rhode Island on track to reduce global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050 and to spur similar national action.”
Scientific evidence shows that the early impacts of global warming are already starting to be felt in the Ocean State, including warmer temperatures in Narragansett Bay that impact fish populations and rising sea levels along Rhode Island’s coastline.
“Reducing global warming pollution at the state and national levels is not negotiable. We need to take steps to protect human health and our 400 miles of coastline immediately. Big problems call for big solutions. Rhode Island has the opportunity to step up and lead the way,” said Denise Parrillo, with Clean Water Action. “We call on the General Assembly to follow the advice of scientists and pass legislation to reduce global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050.”
Although Rhode Island has approved several policy reforms to reduce global warming pollution the Ocean State is not on track to achieve any of the voluntary global warming pollution reduction goals that the state committed to in 2001. In light of the lack of action on the federal level, what is needed, advocates say, is a commitment through state legislation to achieve the cuts needed to begin curbing global warming pollution.
“If we are serious about stopping global warming and achieving true energy security in the next decade, it’s time to take quick action to cut greenhouse gas emissions across the board and invest in the sort of solution that will give businesses and people the opportunity to make a real difference,” said Cynthia Giles, Director of the Conservation Law Foundation’s Rhode Island Advocacy Center. “In light of federal inaction, it’s time for Rhode Island to prove it’s a leader in this fight.”
Some of the near-term energy solutions to reduce global warming pollution in Rhode Island include:
* Large investments in renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
* Weatherizing homes to reduce their use of fuel for space heating during the cold winter months and reduce air conditioning demand in the summer;
* Improved water heaters and other major appliances for homeowners that achieve significant reductions in energy consumption;
* More energy-efficient space heating, cooling and lighting equipment in commercial buildings;
* Combined heat-and-power technology that allows business and industry to create heat and electricity at the same time – resulting in a large improvement in overall energy efficiency;
* Technological improvements to cars and light trucks that would enable vehicles to achieve average fuel economy of at least 33 miles-per-gallon over the next decade, and much better fuel economy in the years to come;
* Improvements to heavy-duty trucks that can reduce their fuel consumption per mile by 29 percent.
A recent report called “Tomorrow’s Energy Today,” authored by the Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center and the Clean Water Fund, modeled what would happen if states in New England took advantage of the region’s full near-term energy efficiency and renewable energy potential and found that it would:
* Reduce the region’s emissions of carbon dioxide by nearly 20 percent;
* Cut gasoline consumption by 21 percent;
* Cut diesel fuel consumption by 13 percent;
* Cut natural gas consumption by 22 percent;
* Cut nuclear power production by 26 percent;
* Cut coal consumption by 28 percent.