Hawai’i joins other Climate Week leaders at summit

Posted on Sep 26, 2017 in Capitol Connection, Featured

Governor Ige joined governors of other states taking action to fight climate change.

Ferocious hurricanes. Raging wildfires. Rising seas and coastal flooding. As we in Hawai‘i and other parts of the world can attest, climate change is real. To highlight how states can work together to take action, Gov. Ige joined national leaders for Climate Week in New York last month.

“This was a great opportunity for Hawai‘i to demonstrate its leadership to the world for a more sustainable planet,” said the governor. “Hawai‘i was the first state to commit to a goal of 100 percent clean, renewable energy. Other states are considering similar action. We’ll be working with them to help our communities fight climate change.”

Hawai‘i is among 14 states and Puerto Rico who are members of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bi-partisan coalition formed in response to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

The alliance’s 2017 report included good news for both the environment and the states’ economies:

  • The alliance states are on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels over the next eight years.
  • Between 2005 and 2015, the combined economic output of alliance states grew by 14% (the rest of the country grew by 12%). These states are proof that fostering economic growth through clean energy policies and “green” jobs makes sense.

Locally, the state’s Climate Commission is developing a Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report for the islands due by the end of this year. As the nation’s only island state, Hawai‘i is highly vulnerable to flooding from storms and tsunami.

In a Sept. 22 Facebook Live segment, the governor and Rep. Chris Lee, a member of the state’s Climate Commission, talked about how Hawai’i can take action now to protect itself from sea level rise and other effects of global warming.

“This year through Act 32 the Legislature expanded  the scope of the Climate Commission to look at the rest of the impacts from climate change,” said Rep. Chris Lee, who helped co-author the bill. “We’ll have to look at how to protect our freshwater supply, our watersheds, our public infrastructure and shorelines and other facilities. . . If we can do this together, we can protect the future for the next generation. The governor understands that we can work together to create a clean energy future by creating jobs and reducing costs to taxpayers. That’s a win-win and a model for the nation that can work.”

Watch the Facebook Live discussion.

Read more in our October issue