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Environmentalists push state to prioritize combatting climate change as UN issues ‘code red’

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:59 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 10, 2021 at 11:13 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Following a bleak report from the United Nations, Hawaii environmentalists said that the state needs to make it a priority to be part of a global movement to combat climate change.

The report from more than 230 leading scientists of the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change said quick and dramatic impact can reduce some impacts, but other adverse effects of climate change will continue to decline.

According to the report, catastrophic weather events like fires, hurricanes and floods will continue.

Scientists said that unless there is wide-scale action to reduce emissions, average global temperature is likely to go over the 1.5-degree Celsius mark within two decades.

According to this analysis, it’s clear human influence has warmed the planet.

Daniel Anthony runs Hui Aloha Aina Momona, an organization that supports local farmers and promotes the practice of sustainable agriculture.

“I think that for every low level farmer in the world, the report was a Stephen King novel,” Anthony said.

He said that if sea levels rise just a few inches, his farm along with others will be washed away.

Chip Fletcher, associate dean for the University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, said he hopes this opens other’s eyes to how severe of an impact humans have made on global warming.

“Temperatures today are over one degree Celsius warmer than the pre-industrial period,” Fletcher said. “And in fact, temperatures on earth today are the warmest they’ve been in over 100,000 years.”

Marti Townsend is the director for the Sierra Club Hawaii Chapter. She said while small, individual steps are important, the entire world needs to make up a lot of ground to become sustainable.

“We need to dramatically fundamentally change our economy. I think the first thing we need to do is hold the fossil fuel industry accountable,” she said.

“They have made an immense amount of money, misleading us. And now we are in this dire situation, they have a responsibility to use some of that money to help us make the real fundamental changes we need to make.”

Jeff Mikulina is the executive director for the Blue Planet Foundation, an organization fighting to take steps toward renewable energy.

Mikulina said that individual steps will make a difference. He hopes people will consider turning to electric vehicles.

”We know that every disaster movie starts with the scientists being ignored,” Mikulina said. “So the changes we’re making in Hawaii are really critical, because people are watching us. We’re a perfect model for what we could be for climate solutions.”

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