Hawaii could become the first US state to declare a climate emergency after the Legislature’s adoption of State Senate Concurrent Resolution 44 last week. The bill would call for statewide collaboration towards efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
What is Happening?
- The bill “acknowledges that an existential climate emergency threatens humanity and the natural world, declares a climate emergency, and requests statewide collaboration toward an immediate just transition and emergency mobilisation effort to restore a safe climate.”
- It would call on the state to commit to “a just transition toward a decarbonised economy that invests in and ensures clean energy, quality jobs and a statewide commitment to a climate emergency mobilisation effort to reverse the climate crisis.”
Rep. Lisa Marten (D-51), who led the House version of the measure, said in a statement, said, “Hawaii is the first state to join a movement largely led by cities and counties to declare a climate emergency which reflects the commitment our state Legislature continues to make to address the causes and the impacts of climate change.”
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- Many applauded the move, including Dyson Chee, advocacy director for the Hawaii Youth Climate Coalition, who said that “climate change is an emergency that needs to be dealt with accordingly. Every day we wait to take action is another day lost. The climate crisis is a clear and present threat for both current and future generations.”
- Such declarations have been made by over 1 900 jurisdictions worldwide, covering nearly 13% of the global population, including 144 within 24 states in the US and New Zealand. Climate emergency declarations have previously been made by the Hawaii Island Council and Maui County Council.
- At the federal level, president Joe Biden is facing calls to declare a climate emergency, however with the Democrat/ Republican divide permeating in states across the country, this seems unlikely.