National News

Hawaii enacts laws adopting Paris climate deal pledges

Posted June 7

Hawaii on Tuesday became the first state in the country with laws that implement portions of the Paris climate deal.

Gov. David Ige signed two laws that aim to reduce greenhouse emissions and mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration, a process to store atmospheric carbon monoxide.

"Our island communities lead the way when it comes to climate change impacts and policies," Ige told reporters. "We also need to be first when it comes to creating solutions.

"We see the impacts of our actions very close to home."

The signing of Hawaii's laws comes nearly a week after President Donald Trump announced he will withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The landmark accord signed by 195 countries intends to cut emissions and keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

"The measure adopted relevant sections of the Paris Agreement as state law, which gives us legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies for Hawaii despite the federal government's withdrawal from the treaty," state Sen. J. Kalani English said about the new laws.

Following Trump's announcement, numerous states and cities across the United States vowed to continue honoring the goals of the Paris Agreement. Hawaii is the only state that has taken legal action.

"In order for Hawaii to be an active participant in going green and looking at alternative energies, we want to be the first, and we want to be the trendsetter for the world," Wil Okabe, Hawaii County's managing director, told CNN affiliate KHON-TV in Honolulu.

Hawaii is part of the US Climate Alliance, an entity created last week by the governors of California, New York and Washington state to share information, environmental best practices and implement new programs "to reduce carbon emissions from all sectors of the economy."

"While the President's actions are a shameful rebuke to the work needed to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, states have been and will continue to step up," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement.

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