FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Marti Townsend, Director
Governor Ige signs bill to make Hawaiʻi carbon neutral by 2045
Capturing carbon to benefit Hawaiʻi’s economy and environment
Honolulu, Hawaiʻi (June 4, 2018) — Today, on the anniversary of Hawaiʻi’s historic decision to join the Paris Climate Accord, Governor Ige doubled down on his commitment to be a global leader on climate by signing three bills that take direct action on climate. H.B. 2182 establishing zero emissions goals, H.B. 2106 requiring planning for sea level rise, and H.B. 1986 supporting state-level carbon sequestration programs. Here is Marti Townsend’s statement on the signing of these bills:
Today, Hawaiʻi commits to sequester more atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases than it produces by 2045. H.B. 2182 demonstrates that combating climate change and protecting Hawaiʻi’s environment both promotes Hawaiʻi’s economy and protects Hawaiʻi’s taxpayers.
For Hawaiʻi, the ravages of climate change are not theoretical or distant. Right now, families on the north shore of Kauaʻi are rebuilding their communities after historical flooding washed away homes and severed the only road to the rest of the island. A recent state study estimates that sea level rise will cause $19 billion dollars in damage to private property in Hawaiʻi. While this number is astronomical, it is merely a beginning estimate, for it only counts the loss to private businesses and personal property, not critical public infrastructure like roads, schools, and utilities that are also at immense risk. Converting to a carbon-neutral economy reduces these risks while securing permanent local employment.
Despite the frightening challenge we confront in climate change, I have hope for our future because lawmakers, innovators, business leaders, and community advocates are working across differences to find a common path to a truly sustainable Hawaiʻi.
This bill appropriates funds for the “Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force” to set benchmarks and identify techniques for Hawaiʻi to capture more carbon than it emits. Techniques to be assessed include funding, financial incentives, and technical expertise to promote agricultural and aquacultural practices that capture greenhouse gases, expand the urban tree canopy, parks, greenways, and wetlands, and promote the generation and use of compost.
Passage of this bill means Hawaiʻi is continuing to do everything possible to ensure our environment is cleaner and safer for our children, our local residents have reliable, well-paying jobs, and our tax dollars are well-invested.
Link to Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Report: https://climateadaptation.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/SLR-Report_Dec2017.pdf
Additional photos available upon request.
About the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi: Formed in 1968, the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi has over 20,000 members and supporters working throughout the islands to stop climate change, ensure climate justice for all, and protect Hawaiʻi’s unique natural resources. The Sierra Club is the largest, oldest environmental organization in the U.S. We rely on volunteers to support outdoor education programs, trail and native species restoration projects, and grassroots advocacy for sound environmental policies.