By June 7, 2017 Read More →

Hawaii commits to Paris Climate Accord goals


Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a bill on Tuesday that requires the state to align its environmental standards with the Paris Climate Accord. Hawaii Public Radio photo.

Hawaii joins “climate alliance” of US states committed to Paris goals

Less than one week after President Trump announced the United States was leaving the Paris Climate Accord, Hawaii became the first US state to enact legislation to align its environmental standards with the global agreement.

On Tuesday, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a bill that would require state officials to create a response plan to climate change that dovetails with the standards and goals of the Paris agreement, according to Scott Glenn who is an environmental adviser to the governor.

energy transformation“Reducing greenhouse emissions in Hawaii is now the law — the state law,” says Hawaii Public Radio’s Bill Dorman. “While the specifics are a bit vague, the political message is clear: to keep pace with environmental commitments made as part of the Paris accord.”

Glenn said “People come to Hawaii to enjoy its environment.”  He added “When climate change is threatening our reefs and threatening our weather … then it’s threatening our economy, too.”

Before he signed the bill, Ige said Hawaii was the “testing ground” and that Hawaiians are aware of the limits of their natural environment.

“Tides are getting higher, biodiversity is shrinking, coral is bleaching, coastlines are eroding, weather is becoming more extreme. We must acknowledge these realities at home,” said Ige.

“That is why Hawaii is united in its political leadership on tackling climate change.”

The bill also creates a state commission dedicated to studying climate change which will create detailed plans for responding to sea-level rise and climate change as a whole.

State Sen. J. Kalani English said the bill “gives us legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies for Hawai’i, despite the Federal government’s withdrawal from the treaty.”  English introduced the bill.

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Last Thursday, President Trump said the Paris pact threatened millions of jobs and productivity.  He then announced the United States would be withdrawing from the agreement signed by former President Obama in 2015.

Only two other countries, Syria and Nicaragua have not signed on to the pact.

On the same day Trump said the US would leave the agreement, governors of Washington, California and New York announced the creation of a “climate alliance” of states that would remain committed to the Paris goals.

Hawaii’s Governor Ige joined the alliance on Friday.

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