NewsRadio 920 WHJJ and the Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island legislative panel is considering a bill that establishes a framework for the state to address and mitigate climate change.

The House Environment and Natural Resources Committee heard testimony Thursday evening.

Committee Chairman Arthur Handy, the bill's lead sponsor, called climate change a serious threat to Rhode Island and said that the state has an opportunity to be a national leader in preparing for it.

Climate change is expected to lead to higher sea levels, rising ocean temperatures, coastal erosion and flooding.

Handy's bill calls for conducting vulnerability assessments. It also creates a climate change science advisory council and sets targets for lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee recently created a Climate Change Council to coordinate the state's efforts on the issue.