Maui News

State Climate Commission Issues Decision Making, Investment Guidance

July 20, 2021, 7:23 AM HST
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Impacts of sea level rise and erosion. PC: Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaption Report.

The Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission approved a statement to guide climate action in light of Hawai‘i’s climate emergency declaration (SCR 44), and the American Jobs Plan.

The statement provides recommendations to state and county governments on how to translate Hawaiʻi’s climate policy framework into decision making and investing. The American Jobs Plan includes a $50 billion investment in resilient infrastructure, including restoring and protecting nature-based infrastructure such as lands, forests and wetlands.  

“As federal funds are readied for disbursement, Hawaiʻi needs to be poised to receive and deploy them to the maximum advantage of its communities and people,” according to state officials. The American Jobs Plan intends to create good-paying union jobs, tackle the climate crisis, and grow the economy, sustainably and equitably for decades to come. 

“This is a unique moment for Hawai’i and by maximizing the utility of these resources we can continue putting our state on an upward trajectory for the remainder of the pandemic, the recovery, and into the future to create a clean, equitable and resilient state,” said Mary Alice Evans, director of the State Office of Planning and Sustainable Development and co-chair of the Commission. 

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case, co-chair of the Commission, said, “Our latest statement emphasizes that nature-based solutions, green infrastructure, and carbon-smart practices must be implemented now and prioritized in all planning and future actions as part of a climate ready Hawaiʻi. By doing so, it supports state sustainability and climate resiliency which provide a multitude of economic, environmental, and social co-benefits.” 

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Four “Climate Ready” priorities include:  

  • The ambitious mitigation of greenhouse gases through elimination and reduction of emissions. 
  • The preservation of cultural, biological and public resources through adaptation.  
  • The accelerated sequestration of carbon, production of local foods and protection of public health and ecosystems. 
  • The adoption and building of resilience to climate change. 
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The Commission’s member departments and offices are crucial in moving this work forward. Actions that embody climate readiness are discussed in the statement. This list is not comprehensive, as the Commission recognizes the breadth and depth of work ongoing in the State, including the recently released Hawai‘i 2050 Sustainability Plan Decade for Action 2020-2030.

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