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Speaker Mattiello says there’s nothing Rhode Island can do about climate change

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This is a national issue,” said Speaker Mattiello. “The fifty-square foot State of Rhode Island cannot positively – or negatively – impact the environment.


“What measures do you want – or what measures can you take to address our climate change challenge here?” Boston Globe reporter Dan McGowan asked Rhode Island Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston) at the Globe’s Legislative Kickoff Panel featuring the Speaker and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (Democrat, District 4, Providence) last night.

“Let’s be realistic about climate change,” said Speaker Mattiello. “It’s real, it’s been happening for a long time. I’m aware of that. And I think it has to be addressed.

“There’s nothing Rhode Island can do to address climate change in a way that’s real or impactful. This has to be done at the national level – and the international level – because even if our nation does and the rest of the world doesn’t participate, we’re still going to be in trouble and we’re not going to solve the problem.

“This is a national issue. The fifty-square foot State of Rhode Island cannot positively – or negatively – impact the environment.

“We can act appropriately, which I think we do – we’re heavily investing in green energy and we have great recycling programs – we are about as green as a State can be, and I supported and encouraged all of those initiatives.


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“However, when you’re talking about changing our climate, I realistically – and as much as I think it’s changing – I realistically believe that all you can do is harm your economy and not improve your climate, unless the entire nation joins in.

“So this stuff has to be debated at the national level, which is very hard. It’s easy to come into Rhode Island, a small state, trying to affect policy, check off the win box. It doesn’t help the environment.

“So all we can do is hurt ourselves and not necessarily help ourselves. But I do support every green initiative out there but it has to be realistic and has to work within the confines of our economy,” concluded the Speaker.

“Boo!” yelled Michael Kearney, a 22-year old climate activist with the Sunrise Movement. “Shame!”

Here’s the video:


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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade. atomicsteve@gmail.com

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