Act on Climate

2021 Act on Climate

Governor Dan McKee signs the Act on Climate

On April 14, 2021, Governor Dan McKee signed into law the 2021 Act on Climate, which sets enforceable climate emissions reduction mandates. This legislation updates the previous 2014 Resilient Rhode Island Act, positioning the state to boldly address climate change and prepare for a global economy that is shifting to clean energy.

Emissions Mandates:

  • 45% below 1990 levels by 2030
  • 80% below 1990 levels by 2040
  • Net-zero emissions by 2050

As required by the Act, the Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council (EC4) delivered an update to the 2016 Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Plan to the Governor and General Assembly in December 2022.

The EC4 is now developing a plan to incrementally reduce climate emissions and meet the Act on Climate goals with the ‘2025 Climate Action Strategy’. This strategy will be a comprehensive working document that will be updated every five years thereafter. The plan will be developed with a robust public engagement process and will address areas such as climate justice, health equity, and a just transition to green energy jobs.

Climate Action in Rhode Island

In January 2020, an Executive Order was signed for advancing a 100% renewable electricity future for Rhode Island by 2030. In 2022, the General Assembly enacted a Renewable Energy Standard of 100% by 2033.

A 2015 Executive Order requires Rhode Island to “lead by example” in energy efficiency and clean energy by committing state government to obtain 100% renewable energy by 2025, requiring state agencies to reduce energy use by 10% by 2019, and requiring the state fleet to purchase a minimum of 25% zero-emissions vehicles by 2025.

On May 9th, 2023, the Governor signed an updated Lead by Example Executive Order directing any state agency with 15 or more employees to appoint a Lead by Example coordinator and to collaborate with the Lead by Example program in the Office of Energy Resources to lower state energy consumption. The order also sets targets for state agency fossil fuel emissions reductions, site energy use intensity reductions, use of zero-emission vehicles, and installation of electric vehicle charging stations.

Read a full timeline of Rhode Island State Climate Actions with links to reports, plans, Executive Orders, legislation, and actions.

Federal funds from the IIJA and IRA continue to flow into the state. Read a summary of program funding at the Office of Energy Resources