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Hawaii becomes first state to declare climate emergency

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 11:42 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii made history on Thursday by becoming the first state to declare a climate emergency.

Although the resolution passed by the state Legislature is symbolic, it acknowledges that climate change is an immediate threat.

The resolution calls on government to make choices that will enable a more sustainable future. It goes as far as to ask for a ban on public and private investments that would make the climate worse.

“We need to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground,” said Tedd Bohlen, of Climate Protectors of Hawaii.

“And as soon as possible, no later than 2030 we need to set an example by replacing fossil fuel electricity generation with solar, wind power and battery storage. And we need to stop using gasoline and diesel to power our vehicles.”

Environmentalists say every day action is delayed — the problem gets worse. While the state has a clean energy goal of 2045, they say more planning for the future needs to start today.

“We need to get ready for 100% electric vehicles by 2030 by installing charging infrastructure especially in parking lots, shopping mall, hotels, rental car facilities and apartment buildings that are harder to serve than single family homes,” Bohlen said.

Dyson Chee, of Hawaii Climate Coalition, added:

“We’ve said we are committed to declaring this climate emergency and solving it as such. Now, it’s a matter of walking that talk. Are we going to follow it up with legislation? Are businesses, individuals, government, everyone in the community? Are we going to be able to do what we said we’ll do?”

Prior to the state’s recognition, Maui and Hawaii counties had declared a climate emergency in 2019.

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