Hawaiʻi seeks to lead by example in adapting to the impacts and mitigating the extent of climate change. Hawai’i was the first state in the nation to declare a climate emergency. Through Senate Concurrent Resolution 44 SD1 HD1, Hawai’i recognized the global climate crisis endangers the health, safety, and welfare of the people, warranting preemptive and protective action. The resolution further requested statewide entities to pursue climate mitigation and adaption efforts and established “a statewide commitment to a just transition toward a decarbonized economy…”
In 2022, the State Legislature passed Act 238 which tasks the Hawai‘i State Energy Office to “analyze pathways and develop recommendations for achieving the State’s economy-wide decarbonization goals.” Additionally, the study will evaluate emission reduction pathways from all emitting sectors economy-wide.
Pursuant to Hawai’i Revised Statutes §225P-5, Hawai’i has a target “to sequester more atmospheric carbon and greenhouse gases than emitted within the State as quickly as practicable, but no later than 2045”, effectively establishing a net-negative emissions target.
The data presented above are rounded to the nearest tenth and are for demonstration purposes. Data were obtained from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Inventory to show annual measurements since 1990. The State of Hawai'i Greenhouse Gas Inventory, published annually, will ultimately be used to determine state emissions. Data published by the EPA closely coincide with the data in the state inventory published by the Department of Health.
The Decarbonization Strategy
- Recommend regulatory or other state action; that will ensure the attainment of the State's decarbonization goals;
- Include measures to reduce emissions from electricity, including accelerating the adoption of clean energy and improving energy efficiency for residential, commercial, and government users;
- Include land use and transportation planning measures aimed at reducing emissions from the transportation sector;
- Recommend state actions to address emissions associated with air travel and shipping, including how to encourage electrification and adoption of alternative fuels;
- Recommend best management practices in the agricultural sector;
- Include long—term carbon sequestration and carbon capture and utilization opportunities;
- Make recommendations to aid in the transition of the state workforce to meet the needs of a decarbonized economy;
- Consider impacts to environmental justice, frontline, and low-income communities and make recommendations for how to mitigate any impacts to these communities and to facilitate a just transition to a decarbonized economy;
- Determine the most cost-effective pathway to decarbonization;
- Rank recommendations based on level of impact, cost, and ease of implementation;
- Make recommendations on whether the goals established pursuant to section 225P—5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, should be adjusted, or if additional interim goals between the completion of the analysis and 2045 should be adopted
- Examine contributions of different carbon sources, how each source can be reduced, what entities are responsible for the reduction of each source, and how each source factors into the determination of statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals; and
- Include other relevant considerations as deemed appropriate and necessary.
Act 238 Session Laws of Hawai'i 2022