Defying Trump, Hawaii Becomes First State to Pass Law Committing to Paris Climate Accord

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Hawaii, A Leader in Renewable and Clean Energy, Enacts Law Aligned With Global Paris Climate Accord

Thursday, June 08, 2017

HONOLULU — Hawaii has passed a law to document sea level rise and set strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The bill signed by Gov. David Ige aligns the state’s goals with the Paris climate accord.

Ige said Hawaii is the first state to enact legislation implementing parts of the Paris climate agreement. President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from that accord last week.

“Hawai‘i is committed to environmental stewardship, and we look forward to working with other states to fight global climate change,” Governor Ige said in a statement. “Together, we can directly contribute to the global agenda of achieving a more resilient and sustainable island Earth.”

Governor Ige said the islands are seeing the impacts of climate change first-hand. He says tides are getting higher, biodiversity is shrinking, coral is bleaching and coastlines are eroding.

“The measure adopted relevant sections of the Paris agreement as state law, which gives us legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies for Hawai‘i, despite the Federal government’s withdrawal from the treaty,” said Hawaii Sen. J. Kalani English.

Ige also signed a bill Tuesday to reduce carbon emissions in the agriculture sector.

At least a dozen states, including Hawaii, have signed pledges to continue reducing fossil-fuel emissions despite Trump’s decision.

Other members include New York, California, Washington state, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Puerto Rico.

“As the federal government turns its back on the environment, New York and states across the country are picking up the mantle of climate leadership and showing the world it’s possible to address climate change while also creating good-paying careers,” New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement earlier this week.

A new era of U.S. climate action has dawned. In less than a week since President Trump announced his intent to withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement, more than 1,000 U.S. states, cities, businesses, and universities have organized themselves into an unprecedented coalition dedicated to continuing strong U.S. climate leadership. In their “We Are Still In” statement issued yesterday, American governors, mayors, investors, CEOs, and college and university leaders are sending a clear signal that they remain committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement and will press forward regardless. This action opens a new chapter in the history of international collaboration on climate change.

reference West Hawaii Forum, Nov. 2016: http://www.westhawaiiforum.org/event/hawaiis-climate-change-challenge/

U.S. scientists officially declare 2016 the hottest year on record. That makes three in a row…

Forum Reference: November 17th, 2016, West Hawaii Forum on “Hawaii’s Climate Change Challenge”

In a powerful testament to the warming of the planet, two leading U.S. science agencies Wednesday (1/18/17) jointly declared 2016 the hottest year on record, surpassing the previous record set just last year — which itself had topped a record set in 2014.

Average surface temperatures in 2016, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the warmest since the agency’s records began in 1880.

The average temperature across the world’s land and ocean surfaces was 58.69 Fahrenheit, or 1.69 degrees above the 20th-century average of 57 degrees, NOAA declared. The agency also noted that the record for the global temperature has now successively been broken five times since the year 2000. The years 2005 and 2010 were also record warm years, according to the agency’s data set.

NASA concurred with NOAA, also declaring 2016 the warmest year on record in its own data set that tracks the temperatures at the surface of the planet’s land and oceans, and expressing “greater than 95 percent certainty” in that conclusion. (In contrast, NOAA gave a 62 percent confidence in the broken record.)

NASA found a bigger leap upward of temperatures in 2016, measuring the year as .22 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the prior record year of 2015. The agency also noted that since the year 2001, the planet has seen “16 of the 17 warmest years on record.”

Scientists have been far less guarded. “2016 is a wake-up call in many ways,” Jonathan Overpeck, a climate scientist at the University of Arizona, said of the year’s temperatures. “Climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is serious.”

NASA and NOAA produce slightly different records using somewhat different methodologies, but have now concurred on identifying 2014, 2015 and 2016 as, successively, the three warmest years in their records. There was a noticeable difference this year, however, in how much two agencies judged 2016 to have surpassed 2015. NASA was more bullish — a difference that Schmidt, in a press call Wednesday, attributed to different ways of measuring the Arctic.

“The warming in the Arctic has really been exceptional, and what you decide to do when you’re interpolating across the Arctic makes a difference,” Schmidt said.

Last year’s warmth was partly enhanced by a strong weather pattern known as El Niño, but the federal scientists underscore that this was not the only cause.

For example, 1998 was also, at the time, the warmest year on record, thanks in part to a strong El Niño — but the 2016 planetary temperature now far surpasses the temperature of that year, as you can see above.

The reason is that Earth has been warming since then, allowing another El Niño event, unlocking heat from the vast Pacific Ocean, to push overall temperatures to new heights.

“The pattern of record warmth in the lower atmosphere, coupled with record cold in the stratosphere, provides a clear fingerprint of the cause of the unprecedented warming — greenhouse gases trapping heat in the lower atmosphere instead of letting it escape to the stratosphere, and then to space.

“No doubt about it anymore — humans, mainly by burning fossil fuels, are cooking the planet, Overpeck said.

Pacific Islands nations to Trump: ‘save us’ from global warming

Forum Reference: November 17th, 2016, West Hawaii Forum on “Hawaii’s Climate Change Challenge” 

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has message for the world: climate change is not a hoax, as US President-elect Donald Trump has claimed.    The next head of the UN global climate talks has appealed for the US to “save” Pacific islands from the impacts of global warming.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said that the islands needed the US now as much as they did during World War Two.

Mr Trump has promised to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement and scrap all payments for UN global warming projects.

But as he accepted the role of president of the Conference of the Parties for the year ahead, the Fijian leader took the opportunity to call on to the next US president to step away from his scepticism.

“I again appeal to the President-elect of the US Donald Trump to show leadership on this issue by abandoning his position that man-made climate change is a hoax,” said Mr Bainimarama.

“On the contrary, the global scientific consensus is that it is very real and we must act more decisively to avoid catastrophe.”

He also made a direct call to the American people to come to their aid in the face of rising seas, driven by global warming.

“We in the Pacific, in common with the whole world, look to America for the leadership and engagement and assistance on climate change just as we looked to America in the dark days of World War Two.    “I say to the American people, you came to save us then, and it is time for you to help save us now.”

After two weeks of talks here in Marrakech, participants arrived at a consensus on the next steps forward for the landmark climate treaty.

This gathering saw the opening of CMA1, the Conference of the Parties meeting as the signatories of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rises.

CMA1 will be the formal UN body that will run, manage and set the rules for the operation of the Paris treaty.

The participants also agreed the Marrakech Proclamation, a statement re-affirming the intentions of all 197 signatories to the Paris deal.

Seen as show of unity on the issue in the light a possible US withdrawal, countries stated they would live up to their promises to reduce emissions. The proclamation also called on all states to increase their carbon cutting ambitions, urgently.

 

The participants also agreed the Marrakech Proclamation, a statement re-affirming the intentions of all 197 signatories to the Paris deal.

Seen as show of unity on the issue in the light a possible US withdrawal, countries stated they would live up to their promises to reduce emissions. The proclamation also called on all states to increase their carbon cutting ambitions, urgently.

Some of the poorest nations in the world announced that they were moving towards 100% green energy at this meeting.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum said that the 47 member countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Yemen, would achieve this goal between 2030 and 2050. And they challenged richer countries to do the same.. The talks will continue in 2017 with a new US delegation picked by the Trump administration.

America’s first wave-produced power goes online in Hawaii

Forum Reference: Energy forums of September 2015 and September 2016 for more information on Clean Energy options for Hawai’i 

By some estimates, the ocean’s endless motion packs enough power to meet a quarter of America’s energy needs and dramatically reduce the nation’s reliance on oil, gas and coal. But wave energy technology lags well behind wind and solar power, with important technical hurdles still to be overcome.

Hawaii would seem a natural site for such technology. As any surfer can tell you, it is blessed with powerful waves. The island state also has the nation’s highest electricity costs — largely because of its heavy reliance on oil delivered by sea —