Taking advantage of Earth Week, the City and County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency released the inaugural Annual Sustainability Report on Wednesday.

The report captures performance data across O'ahu in the following key areas:

·         Achieving a Carbon Neutral Economy

·         Sustainable City Operations

·         Clean and Affordable Transportation

·         100 percent Renewable Energy Future

·         Water Security and Green Infrastructure

·         Sustainable Waste Management

·         Climate Resilience.

With the baseline data set forth in the 2019 Annual Sustainability Report, the city and the island as a whole will be able to measure progress toward critical carbon neutrality, sustainability, and resilience goals.

“This annual report is meant to serve as an annual check-up for our island’s health,” said Josh Stanbro, Chief Resilience Officer and Executive Director of the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. “We know that the land only sustains us if we in turn care for it —and with the impacts of climate change already upon us we need to invest in resilience and a future clean energy economy.”

Several key goals and/or tracked measures in the Annual Sustainability Report include:

·         Increasing on-site reuse of methane, a potent greenhouse that can help meet our energy needs if it’s not allowed to be released into the atmosphere. A pilot project at the Honouliuli Wastewater Treatment Plant captures methane and generates 800,000 therms of energy annually. This is the equivalent of the amount needed to power 0.86% of O?ahu households.

·         Tracking progress towards reducing vehicle miles traveled (VMT) – however in 2016 per capita VMT was 6042.86. This was an increase of 2.8 percent from 2015.

·         Moving toward the goal of 100 percent renewable energy on O'ahu by 2045 – in 2017 renewable energy accounted for 20.8 percent of all energy generation on O?ahu. This was an increase of 1.4 percent over 2016.

·         Planting 100,000 trees across O'ahu by 2025 – since December 2017 the city has planted 2,147 trees.

·         Protecting and preserving our beaches and coastline – since 1949 O'ahu has seen narrowing or the complete loss of nearly 25 percent of the 66 miles of sandy beach across the island.

·         Reducing per capita waste produced island-wide – in 2017 per capita waste on O'ahu was 1.99 tons. This was a 10.4 percent reduction from 2016.

“I’m pleased to see the progress that this report shows we are making as an island community,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “However, the data shows that we are not moving fast enough and we need to accelerate our efforts. The good news is that the more we reduce carbon pollution, increase efficiency, and ‘green’ our city, the more resilient we will be as a people.”

Meanwhile, in a further step toward meeting carbon neutrality goals, the city registered for the first time in its history with the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an international organization dedicated to measuring progress toward management of the environmental impacts of climate change. Honolulu received an initial grade of “C” which is ranked as “awareness.”

CDP placed Honolulu in a class of communities “currently in the process of measuring and assessing the impact climate change will have on a city.” While the ranking would appear average, Honolulu scored above the global average in all six CDP criteria, underscoring how many communities globally are just beginning to wrestle with the substantial financial costs and risks associated with climate change. Clearly, Honolulu represents a community that is ahead of the curve.