Hawai’i makes its mark at Global Climate Action Summit

Posted on Sep 26, 2018 in Featured

Hawai’i’s delegation pauses for a photo opp local style.

Gov. Ige describes new U.S. Climate Alliance initiatives.

Real people in real communities dealing with the real effects of climate change. That describes life in Hawai‘i as we face hurricanes, king tides and the reality of sea level rise. Governor Ige and other environmental leaders from Hawai‘i joined scores of national and international representatives at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last month to work toward the goals of the Paris Climate Accord.

The summit reaffirmed the environmental leadership of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan group of 17 governors — including Governor Ige — working together to reduce global warming. The Alliance was formed after President Trump withdrew from the Paris agreement. “Hawai‘i and the Alliance are showing the nation and the world that ambitious climate action is achievable,” the governor said. “Our state is committed to 100 percent renewable electricity. We’re establishing a carbon offset program to invest in our native forest watersheds. And this year, I signed legislation committing to carbon neutrality by 2045. We’re working together for a clean, renewable future with an integrated electricity and transportation system.”

Gov. Ige with captain Lehua Kamalu after Hikianalia’s 2,800-mile voyage.

One of the pacts signed by Governor Ige involved the Under2 Coalition, a group of more than 200 governments committed to keeping global temperature rises under 2 degrees Celsius. Hawai‘i also joined with other partners to address the impacts of ocean acidification. In addition, the state committed to sustainable management of climate-resilient landscapes and to increased carbon sequestration. This involves capturing CO2 through reforestation, planting native trees, and other land-based solutions. Said the U.S. Climate Alliance, “This commitment builds international confidence that U.S. states can achieve greenhouse gas reductions regardless of inaction at the federal level.”

The week culminated in an emotional, symbolic welcome for Hikianalia captain Lehua Kamalu and her crew when Hōkūleʻa’s sister canoe arrived in San Francisco with its own message of caring for island Earth. The crew completed the 2,800-mile journey from Hawai‘i to California as part of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s global Mālama Honua campaign.

Read more in October’s Capitol Connection newsletter