Trump Withdraws from Paris Climate Change Agreement
US Senator Brian Schatz of Hawai‘i, co-chair of the Senate Climate Action Task Force, said he is “appalled and disappointed” with President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement.
Despite the news, he said he is not “deterred.” According to Sen. Schatz, a formal withdrawal would take nearly four years to complete. He said that means climate change would be on the ballot for every election with the goal of reversing the president’s action.
“The future is with clean energy. The future is with innovation. The future is with climate action. We are not going to allow this short-sighted decision to damage our prospects as a country and as a planet. With private sector momentum behind clean energy, states, cities, and regions are taking action. With international cooperation, we will win this fight, without President Trump’s participation,” said Sen. Schatz.
With President Trump’s decision today to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, the State is prepared to address climate change as it pertains to Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.
Fellow US Senator Mazie Hirono also commented calling the president’s move to withdraw from the agreement, “irresponsible, hasty, and short-sighted.” She said, “In Hawaiʻi we understand why it’s important to take care of our land, ocean, and air – our way of life depends on it. Today, it’s more important than ever for states like Hawaii to boldly take the lead on clean energy innovation and good stewardship of our ʻāina.”
The Hawaiʻi State Legislature this session passed SB559 SD1 HD2 CD1 which supporters say recognizes that climate change poses immediate and long-term threats to the State’s economy, sustainability, security, and way of life, and addresses the impact of climate change, one of the priority issues of the Senate.
Senate Majority Leader, Sen. J. Kalani English (Dist. 7 – Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lānaʻi, Kaho‘olawe) introduced SB559 which funds the creation of the Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission and provides the State with a guide to planning and statewide implementation using the latest scientific analysis and risk assessment to monitor and forecast climate change impacts at the regional, state and local level.
“The effects of climate change are real, as seen primarily with sea level rise in the Pacific,” said Sen. English. “The measure adopted relevant sections of the Paris Agreement as state law, which gives us legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies for Hawai‘i, despite the Federal government’s withdrawal from the treaty.”
“The bill was crafted in collaboration with the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Academy (TBA21 Academy), which hosted a think tank in the Marquesas Islands, focused on climate change and cultural resiliency,” explained Sen. English. “With our way of life here and across the Pacific being left vulnerable to sea level rise and climate change, we simply cannot leave our future in the hands of those who may be misinformed and misguided.”
According to Sen. English, TBA21 is a globally recognized art institution based in Vienna, Austria. TBA21 announced their commitment to focus on the impact of climate change on the oceans at COP21 in Paris and met with scientists, policy makers, and local leaders at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu in September 2016.
Representative Chris Lee (D-51, Kailua, Waimanalo), chair of the House Energy & Environmental Protection Committee also weighed in saying, “The President’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement harms our island state most of all.”
“Local progress replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy has already saved Hawaiʻi a third of a billion dollars and reduced carbon emissions. However, undermining action addressing climate change elsewhere means accelerating global warming and sea level rise that will more quickly erode our beaches, endanger coastal communities, diminish our fresh water supply, and expose our families to stronger and more frequent hurricanes at great cost to our people and way of life in the islands,” said Rep. Lee.
Rep. Lee, called the President’s decision “shortsighted,” saying Hawaiʻi is currently working together with elected leaders in nearly a dozen other states such as California, Oregon, Washington, New York, and Minnesota to implement climate action plans that replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
At the close of the 2017 legislative session Hawaiʻi also passed House Concurrent Resolution 113 calling on all states and the federal government to take action and replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
The Hawaiʻi legislature also passed House Bill 1578, which establishes a process for local farmers to receive carbon credit dollars for agricultural practices that sequester carbon dioxide; and Senate Bill 599, which doubles down on Hawaiʻi’s commitment to coordinate state and county efforts to address climate change.