Hawai`i leads nation on Paris climate accord support

Posted on Jun 30, 2017 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

FIRST IN NATION: Gov. Ige and legislators make Hawaii the first state in the nation to enact laws that align with the Paris climate agreement.

With the stroke of a pen, Governor Ige signed SB 559 into law (Act 032) — making Hawai‘i the first state to enact legislation that implements portions of the Paris climate agreement. The ceremony in the Capitol rotunda included legislators, county mayors and their representatives, famed Hōkūleʻa navigator Nainoa Thompson, department heads and environmentalists. “Hawai‘i is committed to environmental stewardship, and we look forward to working with other states to fight global climate change,” said the governor. “We are setting a course for generations to come.”

Thompson’s presence sent a powerful message, as the Hōkūleʻa’s arrival was just hours away. “I will tell them the Hawai‘i they are coming home to is strong and willing to do the right thing,” he said.

“The measure adopted relevant sections of the Paris agreement as state law, which gives us legal basis to continue mitigation strategies for Hawai‘i, despite the federal government’s withdrawal from the agreement,” said Sen. J. Kalani English, senate majority leader who introduced SB 559. The governor signed a second bill, HB 1578, establishing a Carbon Farming Task Force, to promote sustainable practices in agriculture and aquaculture. He also committed the state to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of 12 states and Puerto Rico that have vowed to uphold the Paris agreement on the state level.

Read more in our July issue