Report: Hawaii ill-prepared for effects of climate change

Report: Hawaii ill-prepared for effects of climate change

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii isn't prepared for the expected effects of climate change in the coming decades, including rising temperatures and coastal flooding, according to a new report.

The report gave Hawaii a "D-" for climate change preparedness.

"Hawaii faces considerable and increasing threat levels from extreme heat and coastal flooding," the report said. "The state has taken only limited action to address current extreme heat risk. Although Hawaii has taken strong action to address current coastal flooding risks, most states facing this threat have done more."

Hawaii was one of 13 states that earned a "D." Five states got failing grades, and six states earns an "A."

The report, called "America's Preparedness Report Card," was put together by Climate Central, an independent organization made up of scientists and journalists, and ICF International, a management and policy consulting firm.

The report gave Hawaii an "F" for its efforts to prepare for rising temperatures and extreme heat.

It notes that other states have made much more progress in this regard, including with mitigation planning.

Hawaii currently experiences nearly 15 heat wave days a year on average, according to the report. By 2050, that figure is expected to jump to 95 days per year.

The report notes that the children and the elderly living in poverty are most vulnerable to extreme heat.

Some of the things Hawaii should be doing to plan for extreme heat, according to the report, include:

  • Writing a mitigation plan that covers extreme heat
  • Developing an extreme heat emergency response plan and updating it routinely
  • Conducting vulnerability assessments for various parts of the state
  • Coming up with plans to adapt to higher temperatures
  • And publishing guidelines for “resilient activities,” such as construction.

The report also criticized the state's lack of work around coastal flooding preparation, giving the state a "D-" for its efforts.

The report did note, however, that the state is planning to take action in the near future, including through a state hazard mitigation plan.

According to the report, by 2050, some 220,000 Hawaii residents will be in areas where there is a high risk of flooding in significant weather events.


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