Hawaii & Alaska
The climate is changing, and state administrators say Hawaii needs new laws to keep up with it. (Photo: Nathan Eagle, Honolulu Civil Beat)

Hawaii 2040: Many Climate Change Bills Are Still Alive, Including A Carbon Tax

At the session’s halfway point, several new measures have support. But some current initiatives will expire if action isn’t taken.

Sam Lemmo is ready for Hawaii to take its effort to combat climate change to the next level.

The head of the state Office of Coastal and Conservation Landswants the Legislature to empower the executive branch so it can address the myriad threats facing Hawaii when it comes to global warming.

That means making temporary institutions permanent, like the Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission. It means updating laws to reflect the latest projections of rising sea levels, more hurricanes, shifting rainfall patterns and hotter weather. And it means money for technical services that enable agencies to do detailed vulnerability assessments and develop programs that actively deal with these issues.

“We need a Climate 3.0 now,” Lemmo said. “Then we can begin the slow process of digging out of this mess.”

Lawmakers have moved a suite of climate-related bills forward this session, which reached its midpoint this week. Several other measures have died, such as mandating an assessment of the environmental impacts of tourism, but more than two dozen have cleared the House or Senate.

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