Testimony on Act on Climate 2021

Greg Gerritt February 3 2021

Chairperson Euer, Members of the Senate Environment and Agriculture committee, 

I strongly urge you to pass the Act on Climate bill.  How RI responds to the rolling climate catastrophe will determine whether RI prospers or it all goes south.  Like Savannah Georgia south by 2080.  You have before you a bill based on good science.  It says we shall reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 and 100% by 2050.  The science says if we do not do this, we will see some really hard times with droughts, floods and storms as well as heat waves.  Asthma will be worse, our forests and soils decaying.  

The really good alternative to the disaster  is based on the understanding that the transformations needed to meet the new mandatory carbon emission reductions, will be the engine of our next round of prosperity.  New energy systems, new agriculture, stronger local communities.  

There will be naysayers, but pay them no mind.  The naysayers told us that seatbelts would hurt auto sales.  Anyone for cars without seatbelts? That wind power was too expensive, though it is now cheaper than coal. That there would be no charging stations, despite skyrocketing numbers of places to charge, advances in batteries, new rapid charging stations, and General Motors saying it will produce no fossil fuel cars by 2035 and have hydrogen powered semi trucks by then as well.  If GM can do this on a schedule just slightly behind what RI really wants, then it is time for the naysayers to retire their old anti-environment, anti-community, woe is the economy song and dance. 

There is no doubt that the transformation of our energy systems, especially if we pay attention to the  passages on environmental justice, economic justice, and greater community input into the process of transformation, is the express train to the future for RI.  There is much to do, more action by the legislature will be called for, including this year. But it starts here with mandatory enforceable emission reductions.