Maui News

Governor Green sets course for Hawai’i climate leadership

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The effects of climate change include damaged reefs. Photo Courtesy: Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

Governor Josh Green, M.D. shared his vision for Hawai‘i’s leadership in renewable energy and climate action in his first major climate speech this week.

Monday, Jan. 9 was Climate Action Day in Hawaiʻi and marked the beginning of Hawaiʻi Climate Week. Other events held during Climate Week include a Youth Summit, Science Summit, a discussion on Pacific Island Women at the United Nations climate change conference known as COP27, and an Energy Policy Forum. 

“To rescue what’s dear to us, to preserve our way of life — we need bold action,” Green said as he kicked-off Climate Week. “And Hawaiʻi is poised to lead the globe on clean energy and climate issues — boldly, into the future.”


This vision includes climate policy initiatives including a recommitment to the US Climate Alliance, and the establishment of a Climate Advisory Panel.

“We welcome Hawaiʻi’s continued membership in our climate action coalition and are proud to partner with Governor Green, a longtime champion of renewable energy and clean transportation,” said US Climate Alliance Executive Director, Casey Katims in a press release issued by the Governor’s office. “Under the Governor’s leadership, we know Hawaiʻi will continue to boldly confront the climate crisis and set an example across the country, throughout the Pacific, and globally.”

The US Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Hawaiʻi is the only Pacific Island member of the coalition.


The Governor has also assembled a small panel of local climate, business, energy, and community leaders to help formulate the goals and responsibilities of a cabinet-level senior climate advisor position and to support the recruitment of candidates for the Governor’s consideration over the next month.

The leader in this new climate position will work to foster collaboration on climate initiatives across departments; accelerate the adoption of climate and clean energy policies; and coordinate implementation of and funding for clean energy, climate, and resiliency initiatives. The position will also help align and leverage broader public and private community interests with the bold, rapid changes we need to make.

Chairing the Climate Advisory Panel will be:

  • Dawn Lippert, CEO of Elemental Excelerator, and
  • Chris Benjamin, CEO of Alexander and Baldwin.

They will work with climate leaders on the Governor’s cabinet. 

Other climate and energy announcements include the pursuit of major federal and private investments into the state for solar, energy efficiency, and energy storage technologies to reduce costs and create healthier communities, and a commitment of no less than $100 million to a climate impact fund to fight climate change and preserve the state’s natural resources.


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