Hawaii’s plan to go green is the very ambitious, and the greatest energy emissions plan of any state in the country.
Governor David Ige signed a bill today that has committed Hawaii to be fully carbon neutral by 2045, a plan that has also been set out by Monaco. As well as this, there has been a second bill that will use the carbon offsets to help fund the planting of trees. And a third bill that requires any new builds to take into account possible sea level rising when planning.
Being a small island, Hawaii feel they are noticing climate change more so than others. Scott Glenn from the state’s environmental quality office states they “experience it directly and we’re a small island… They feel it getting hotter. Because we are directly exposed to this.” The state’s leaders are all in agreement about climate change and believe they are “unified in acknowledging that climate change is real and that we need to do something about it.” The state is vulnerable to $19 billion (£14bn) in an economic loss which is a huge pull for them to take action.
Already a the forefront of renewable energy, in 2015 the state passed a law to move to 100% renewable electricity by 2045. Despite Trump pulling out of the Paris climate change, in 2017, the state passed a law to uphold the agreement’s goal to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius.
As the island relies a lot on importing goods, they have planned a carbon offset program stating: “we know we’re going to continue to be dependant on shipping and aviation, and if they continue to burn carbon to bring us tourists and out goods and our supplies and our food, then we want to try to have a to sequester the impact we’re causing by importing all this stuff to our islands.” The government plans to sell carbon offsets to pay to plant native trees, which can help absorb CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow.
Hawaii sees itself at the forefront of research. They have a standalone electric grid, unlike the mainland U.S. Because of the different sizes, and use of different types of renewable energy the state is a useful guinea pig for companies testing in different conditions.
They believe if they can achieve it then so can others. “That’s what we try to do. That’s the role we see ourselves having within our national dialogue.”