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EBC RI Chapter/RISEP Program: Adaptation – Reducing Rhode Island’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

In its Fourth Assessment Report, completed almost five years ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that “Observational evidence from all continents and most oceans shows that many natural systems are being affected by regional climate changes, particularly temperature increases”. Observations are already showing increased runoff, warming of surface water bodies, migration of terrestrial biological ecosystems, and shifting physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of marine and freshwater ecosystems (IPCC, 2007). Impacts on a local scale have been summarized and projected comprehensively in a number of studies including the Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan (2010) and the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment (2007).

This EBC Rhode Island Chapter program on Adaptation will take Rhode Island’s exposure to impacts as a given and focus on ongoing and planned activities to reduce vulnerability and adapt to observed and predicted changes. In 2010 the Rhode Island Climate Risk Reduction Act was formed with a similar goal. In late 2011, the Rhode Island Climate Change Commission created by the Climate Risk Reduction Act held its first meeting.

The program will commence with a representative of the commission presenting an overview of current progress, short and long-term goals, and challenges. The URI Coastal Resources Center will provide an overview of their work on the behavior changes necessary to successfully implement adaptation for a variety of sectors. Speakers from state agencies will give targeted summaries of adaptation activities for several sectors at the state level. Representatives of local municipalities will provide an overview of community level adaptation activities based on local impacts analyses. Finally, local commercial and industrial insurance provider, FM Global, will discuss risk and adaptation from the insurance industry’s perspective.


  • Rhode Island Climate Change Commission Overview
    • Pam Rubinoff –URI Coastal Resources Center
  • Adaptation and Behavior Change – Sectoral Analysis
    • Pam Rubinoff –URI Coastal Resources Center
  • Insurance, Risk, and Adaptation
    • Dr. Louis Gritzo, FMGlobal (Invited)
  • Adaptation at the Municipal Level
    • Next steps for North Kingstown: Application of an inundation analysis
      • Jon Reiner, Town of North Kingstown
  • Adaptation at the State Level
    • Department of Heath: Implications of Climate Change for Rhode Island Water Utilities
      • Michael Alroy, TetraTech
    • Department of Transportation (Invited)

Program Chair: Kelly Knee, Water Resources Engineer, Applied Science Associates, Inc.