Hawaii pushed through some of the most environmentally ambitious bills in the country, becoming the first state to set a carbon neutral goal of 100 percent.
Hawaii Democratic Gov. David Ige signed three bills into law this week that aim to make the island state carbon neutral by 2045 and set other climate change standards. HB 2182 establishes the carbon neutral goal and creates the Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force. HB 2106 requires project proposals go through a sea level rise analysis before it can move forward. Additionally, HB 1986 establishes a reforestation program as a means to address carbon sequestration — the planting of more trees will be a major part of reaching their goal.
“Climate change is real and we’re seeing its impacts right now in our island state. Taken together, this suite of bills establishes policies and programs that acknowledge and address this reality,” Ige said in a Facebook post Monday after signing the bills into law. “Sea level rise is already having an impact on beaches, roadways and homes near the shoreline. As a result, we face difficult land-use decisions, and requiring an analysis of sea level rise before beginning construction is just plain common sense.”
The sweeping legislation sets Hawaii — a Democratic stronghold — above any other state in setting carbon neutral standards. California comes somewhat close with a 50 percent renewable standard by 2030, with state officials likely to raise the bar in the near future. (RELATED: ‘Green’ California Could Face ANOTHER Energy Crisis)
However, Hawaii is not totally alone in setting a 100 percent carbon neutral standard in the U.S. Boston launched an initiative in 2017 that aims to make the city carbon neutral by 2050. Austin, Texas, is taking similar measures.
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