In the wake of President Donald Trump‘s announcement to reject and leave the Paris Climate Accord, Hawaii’s newly passed laws are the first in America to enforce parts of the deal.
Governor David Ige, along with various county mayors, met for the signing of two laws yesterday that aim to reduce the state’s carbon footprint and improve environmental conditions. The bill, known as SB 559, seeks to broaden the state’s methods to decrease carbon emissions and air pollution; the act states that these strategies “shall be closely aligned with the climate change principles and goals adopted in the Paris Agreement and Hawaii’s share of obligations within the expectations apportioned to the United States in the Paris Agreement, regardless of federal action.” Another bill, SB 1578, creates a carbon farming task force to identify and research agricultural and aquacultural practices that will improve carbon sequestration, the process of capturing storing carbon carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to mitigate emissions.
“We are setting a course to change the trajectory for Hawaii and islanders for generations to come,” Governor Ige said of the agreement. Hawaii is one of many US states and cities to affirm the principles of the Paris Accord and agree to uphold the treaty despite the federal government’s rejection of it. Hawaii County managing director Wil Okabe emphasized the importance of the laws’ passage. “In order for Hawaii to be an active participant in going green and looking at alternative energies,” Okabe said, “we want to be the first, and we want to be the trendsetter for the world.”
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