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Saturday, December 29, 2018

State once again rejects young people’s petition on climate change

DEM files objections in state Superior Court
Peter Nightingale, 

Declining once again to undertake serious action on climate change, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) filed new papers in Providence Superior Court opposing a complaint from Rhode Island youth.

Image result for ri kids petition on climate change
This is the second time in recent months that DEM has declined to act on their request, notwithstanding the commitment of the Raimondo administration to implement the Paris Agreement and in spite of numerous new scientific reports stressing the urgency and extent of action required to avert a climate catastrophe.

Jamiel Conlon of Providence said: "After reading this news, I am unsure as to the intentions of our officials and those in greater power. Honestly, we need to come to our senses right now."

"The state of Rhode Island has the duty to protect "the commons" for future generations. Inaction in the face of the justified demands of our youth as atmospheric carbon tops 400 ppm is criminal negligence," stated Sister Mary Pendergast, RSM, Mercy Ecology, Pawtucket, RI.

Nothing is to be expected from the current federal administration besides the undoing of the inadequate measures taken by the previous one.

Indeed, at the major UN climate summit, COP24, which just ended in Poland, the official U.S. delegation held only one event.

It was to promote the use of "clean" fossil fuels, supposedly as a means to fight against global warming.

In addition, the delegation allied itself with other oil states, including Russia and Saudi Arabia. As a result, the three countries with the biggest per capita carbon dioxide footprint among G20 countries refused to endorse the IPCC special report of last October that found that “unprecedented action” is required to avoid the most disastrous effects of global warming.

Chloe Moers, a student at the Met High School in in Providence, said: "All the evidence shows how badly we have mistreated this planet and its inhabitants. We are not giving up; this is our home and we intend to protect ourselves and our home."

As indeed witnessed by the 2018 Arctic Report Card, by the latest research on the melting of Greenland, and by the wildfires in California, developments are not only alarming but also ahead of scientific forecasts.

Also global energy growth is outpacing required decarbonization as it remains on the exponential growth trajectory that started in the Industrial Revolution.

Under these circumstances, it is the responsibility of the states to act, but DEM's answer shows no signs of this.

At this critical time, Rhode Island government fails to live up to its constitutional obligations, namely "to provide for the conservation of the air, land, water" and make sure that the people of Rhode Island "shall be secure in their rights to the use and enjoyment of the natural resources of the state."

Supplementary information:
  1. IPCC Special Report—Summary for Policy Makers,
  2. IPCC Special Report—Technical Summary,
  3. NOAA, Arctic Report Card 2018,
  4. Nature's Trust RI, Legal Action,
  5. Youth and young adults speak out: