Ige signs climate change legislation

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Hawaii on Tuesday became the first state to enact legislation implementing the 2015 Paris climate accord.


Hawaii on Tuesday became the first state to enact legislation implementing the 2015 Paris climate accord.

The move comes less than a week after President Donald Trump said he would withdraw the United States from the agreement, which was signed by all but two countries.

The 2015 accord is an effort to mitigate climate change by keeping global temperatures from rising 2 degrees Celsius while adapting to ongoing climate effects such as rising sea levels. Countries determine their own plans for meeting these goals.

Act 32 (Senate Bill 559), signed Tuesday by Gov. David Ige, adopts the mitigation and adaptation principles of the agreement. It establishes a permanent climate change commission under the umbrella of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources that “brings together all the different parts we’ve created over the years,” according to Maui Sen. J. Kalani English, who introduced the bill.

English said last week that the legislation “shows Hawaii as a leader in this area, that we’re willing to do it on our own.”

“Hawaii is committed to environmental stewardship, and we look forward to working with other states to fight global climate change,” Ige said in a statement.

“The Hawaii state Legislature understands the importance of taking action, and I applaud its work this session to ensure that we continue to deliver the island Earth that we want to leave to our children.”

Ige also signed Act 33 (House Bill 1578) on Tuesday, which creates a Carbon Farming Task Force to identify agricultural and aquaculture practices aimed at better carbon sequestration.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, along with Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, signed a joint statement declaring the counties’ support of the Paris agreement.

Hawaii also joined the United States Climate Alliance, a group of states dedicated to upholding the accord. The alliance was launched last week by the governors of California, New York and Washington.


Since then, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia have joined.

Email Ivy Ashe at iashe@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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