Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hawaii's governor signs climate change adaptation bill

Hawaii News Now: Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Monday signed House Bill 1714 (Act 83), the Hawaii Climate Adaptation Initiative Act, which establishes a committee to address climate change adaptation statewide. The main focus of the Act is to prepare the state's environment and economy for any threats that might arise due to climate change.

"Over the last hundred years we've seen sea level here in Hawaii rise nearly eight inches," said Rep. Chris Lee. "Our rate of warming in the last 50 years has nearly doubled, and that's reduced our trade winds and our rainfall. These are the challenges that we are going to have to face in the years to come. Ultimately, climate change can have a devastating impact on our local economy and our way of life if we continue to lose our beaches, our reefs and our fresh water supply."

The committee will include designated members of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and Office of Planning (OP). The adaptation committee under the DLNR will develop a sea-level rise and vulnerability report addressing statewide impacts until the year 2050. The OP will be in charge of development of the adaptation plans and policy recommendations, using the committee's report as a framework.

"We have a chance to change our future," said Rep. Lee. "Planning ahead now will save billions of dollars for our next generation and it will make us secure, safe and give our next generation of children an opportunity to much of the same Hawaii that we have today."

NASA image of the island of Hawaii

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