The chief resilience officer will be the voice and advocate for Rhode Island’s plans on climate resilience.

McKee signs executive order to create new climate officer position


(The Center Square) – The position of chief resilience officer has been created in Rhode Island.

Through an executive order Monday morning, Democratic Gov. Dan McKee reestablished the position that will develop and implement the strategy for Rhode Island’s climate preparedness.

The position previously contained within the Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank will be housed within the Department of Environmental Management.

“While the Ocean State is particularly susceptible to the negative impacts of climate change, the chief resilience officer will work to protect Rhode Island from the effects of global climate change,” McKee said in a statement. “We are a leader in taking action and meeting the ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals laid out in the landmark Act on Climate, which I was proud to sign more than two years ago. Resilience and being prepared for the future go hand in hand with our efforts to reduce emissions.”

The chief resilience officer will focus on mitigation and adaptation regarding climate change concerning greenhouse gases and other factors affecting climate change.

The position, according to Michael Healey, chief public affairs officer with the state’s Department of Environmental Management, will pay between $80,000 to $90,000, as it would be a Grade 34 position with the state. However, Healey said that the salary could vary due to the position being created.

“DEM appreciates the governor’s commitment to protecting Rhode Island from the worst effects of climate change by establishing the chief resilience officer position,” DEM Director Terrence Gray said in a statement. “We have much to do to protect the state against sudden and unexpected severe weather events and address underlying chronic stresses, such as rising sea levels, drought, aging infrastructure, and competing development priorities. As we work toward meeting the considerable challenges presented by both our coastal and upland vulnerabilities, environmental justice and equity will be an important consideration in our adaptation work.”

According to a release, the chief resilience officer will be the voice and advocate for Rhode Island’s plans on climate resilience and will work with various programs and organizations to protect and restore coastal habitats.

The position will also coordinate across state agencies, businesses, municipalities, and other organizations. The position will also advise the RI Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council and draft and implement policies under the council’s direction.

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