Fossil Free RI and numerous other groups sent Governor Gina Raimondo a letter outlining steps that she must champion to provide meaningful leadership at this year’s Summer Meeting of the National Governors Association currently taking place in Providence. [*]
Governor Raimondo is well aware of the threat of climate change, as witnessed by her laudable initiative to “set a goal to secure 1000 MW of clean energy resources and double the number of clean energy jobs by 2020.” The governor’s statements and executive orders have focused on the economy and jobs, but they have stopped short of setting the goal of powering all sectors of Rhode Island’s economy with renewable energy by 2035. The governor has not committed to rejecting all proposals for additional fossil fuel infrastructure, nor has she called for the elimination of fracking and other forms of extreme energy extraction.
In their letter, the groups demand that fossil fuels be replaced with renewables at a rate consistent with the accelerating climate crisis. Indeed, according to a recent report by the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program, extreme arctic ice melt is worsening the threat of sea level rise. The latest estimate is nearly twice that of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  Also, as reported in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, the Arctic Ocean could, as early as 2030, lose essentially all its ice during the warmest months of the year. The increasingly blue Arctic Ocean will amplify global warming and wreak havoc with weather patterns around the globe. 
Peter Nightingale, founding member of Fossil Free RI and professor of physics at University of Rhode Island stated: “The right to a livable climate is fundamental to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’ The federal government has been captured by fossil fuel industries, it is therefore up to state governments to follow the moral law to protect this right for present and future generations.”
Attached is the letter that the governor has received and many people are watching to see if Governor Raimondo both at the convention and in Rhode Island, offers the required bold leadership.
The letter was signed by:
American Friends Service Committee–South East New England
Burrillville Land Trust
Climate Action RI
Fossil Free Rhode Island
Nature’s Trust Rhode Island
Our Revolution RI
Rhode island Association of Conservation Commissions
Rhode Island Interfaith Power and Light
Sisters of Mercy Ecology
United Against Clear River Energy Center
Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County–Green Task Force
1. Extreme Arctic Melt Is Raising Sea Level Rise Threat; New Estimate Nearly Twice IPCC’s
2. Arctic 2.0: What happens after all the ice goes?
* Note—Some groups were unable to convene board meetings in time for this letter’s release, we expect to update the sign on in the near future.
Here is a copy of the letter sent to the governor.