Lawmakers, business innovators, and community advocates celebrated the passage of H.B. 2182 Tuesday, which sets the goal of “sequestering more atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases than the State produces as quickly as practicable, but no later than 2045.”

“We are excited for the passage of this bill because it demonstrates that combating climate change and protecting Hawaii’s environment promotes Hawaii’s economy and protects Hawaii’s taxpayers,” Marti Townsend, Director for the Sierra Club of Hawaii, said. 

For Hawaii, the ravages of climate change are not theoretical or distant.

Right now, families on the north shore of Kauai are rebuilding their communities after historical flooding washed away homes and severed the only road to the rest of the island.

A recent state study estimates that sea level rise will cause $19 billion dollars in damage to private property in Hawaii.

While this number is astronomical, it is merely a beginning estimate, for it only counts the loss to private businesses and personal property, not critical public infrastructure like roads, schools, and utilities that are also at immense risk.

Converting to a carbon-neutral economy reduces these risks while securing local employment.

“Despite the frightening challenge we confront in climate change, I have hope for our future because lawmakers, innovators, business leaders, and community advocates are working across differences to find a common path to a truly sustainable Hawaii,” Townsend said.

This bill appropriates funds for the “Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force” to set benchmarks and identify techniques for Hawaii to capture more carbon than it emits. 

Techniques to be assessed include funding, financial incentives, and technical expertise to promote agricultural and aquacultural practices that capture greenhouse gases, expand the urban tree canopy, parks, greenways, and wetlands, and promote the generation and use of compost.

Those a part of passing this bill say the purpose is to continue to do everything possible to ensure our environment is cleaner and safer for our children, our local residents have reliable, well-paying jobs, and our tax dollars are well-invested.

Passage of this bill means Hawaii is continuing to do everything possible to ensure our environment is cleaner and safer for our children, our local residents have reliable, well-paying jobs, and our tax dollars are well-invested.