PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) -- The recently-formed Rhode Island Climate Change Commission has released its first ever report, and the group says the state needs to start adapting to the ever-changing climate.
The commission was created to protect all of Rhode Island's assets, from natural beauty to manmade structures. The group of 20 members come from health care, public, academic, advocate and professional communities.
The commission's co-chair, Rep. Chris Blazejewski, tells us the team's goal is to "look at ways that we can respond to climate change here in Rhode Island."
"Regardless to the causes of climate change, climate change is happening, that's a truth we have to deal with, and Rhode Island needs to have a plan to respond to climate change," he said.
In the past three years, we have seen devastating weather in the state. Between historical flooding and Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, it's becoming obvious that Rhode Island is vulnerable to changes in the weather.
Air temperature here in the Ocean State has risen 1.7 degrees in the past 100 years. Narragansett Bay's water temperature has risen 4 degrees since the 1960s, and sea level of the bay has gone up an astounding 10 inches since the 1930s.
Natural resources are changing, but there are also other effects.
"Health care to the community, to our sewer systems to our infrastructure that can be damaged by the variability and intensity of weather systems," added Rep. Blazejewski.
Taking on the extremes of weather here in Rhode Island and protecting our assets is the goal.
"What will happen going forward will be, one, we'll continue looking at the signs and the risk and, two, we're going to develop priorities for legislative agenda and for administrative changes that can be made," Blazejewski said.
For more information about climate change, visit the Rhode Island Climate Change Commission's website.
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