Maui News

Under SCR44, Hawai‘i Becomes First State to Declare “Climate Emergency”

April 29, 2021, 10:05 AM HST
* Updated April 29, 10:30 AM
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Impacts of sea level rise and erosion. PC: Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaption Report.

Maui County Councilmember Kelly Takaya King will speak at a press conference today announcing the adoption of State Senate Concurrent Resolution 44, “declaring a climate emergency and requesting statewide collaboration toward an immediate just transition and emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate.”

The Hawaiʻi Climate and Environmental Coalition is making the announcement. With the passage of SCR44, Hawaiʻi becomes the first state to declare a climate emergency.

“With the evidence of climate breakdown and the existential threat to humanity and the natural world mounting,” the coalition notes that 13,784 scientists from 156 countries published a “warning to humanity” declaring human activities have “pushed the Earth’s ecosystems to their breaking point,” urging politicians around the world to act now before it is too late. Hawaiʻi now joins this call to action and officially becomes the first state legislature in the United States to declare a climate emergency.

There are 1,933 jurisdictions worldwide that have declared a climate emergency. Previously Hawaiʻi and Maui County Councils declared a climate emergency in 2019.

“The climate crisis is no longer something we can anticipate in the future, it is already here,” according to the Hawaiʻi Climate and Environmental Coalition. “Global warming has now raised the average global air temperature about one degree Celsius, and scientists have documented that this extra heat is already having a dramatic impact on the environment, as demonstrated through larger and stronger hurricanes, increased drought and flooding, shifting rain patterns, more and larger wildfires, a hotter and more acidic ocean, and damaged ecosystems, both marine and terrestrial, across the planet,” according to the coalition.

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SCR44 requests a statewide commitment to pursue climate mitigation and adaptation efforts and mobilize at the
necessary scale and speed to match this emergency.

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The resolution was sponsored by Senator Mike Gabbard and Representative Lisa Marten sponsored the House version of the resolution.

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