Climate change is effecting Hawaiʻi and experts warn it will only get worse. We are already experiencing very active hurricane seasons, beach and coastal erosion creating loss of homes and roads, rain bombs, and record-breaking temperatures. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi is dedicated to ensuring a just future for Hawaiʻi in the face of a changing climate. 

Carbon Free Hawaiʻi

Hawai‘i is already leading the nation with our goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045 but we must do more to ensure the transition to clean energy is accelerated and equitable. Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Hawaiʻi Climate Change Commission support carbon pricing as the most effective action to reduce emissions. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi will prioritize bills that: 

  1. Establish an inclusive task force—engaging community members, labor, and environmental and economic justice advocates—dedicated to studying the feasibility and impacts of carbon pricing in Hawai‘i, 

  2. Use revenue from a carbon price for targeted refunds, clean energy solutions, climate change impact mitigation, and transition assistance and investments in frontline communities, 

  3. Further incentivize renewable energy sources such as establishing microgrid pilot projects, and ensuring Hawai‘i is coal-free by 2023, and 

  4. Develop a science-based carbon budget for the State. 

Free the Streams

For generations, water has been unjustly diverted from lifegiving streams throughout the islands. Water once used to support sugar plantations continues to be diverted by plantation owners turned real estate investors or has been passed on from landowner to landowner without any assessment of water needs. Hawaiʻi’s streams, in their original state, hold enough water to support native ecosystems, subsistence farming, cultural practices, renewable energy, and large scale agriculture. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi will prioritize bills that: 

  1. Uphold state laws, ensuring water is first used for the public good before used for private profit, 

  2. Prevent efforts to extend the use of temporary permits for stream diversions and instead encourage practices compliant with Hawai‘i’s Water Code. 

  3. Establish conditions for the Board of Land and Natural Resources to approve public land dispositions. 

Planning for Rising Seas

Hawai‘i’s natural coastal habitats act as a buffer against the high wind and waves of powerful storms, protecting residents and infrastructure near the ocean while supporting unique ecosystems. The people of Hawaiʻi also rely on coastal resources for subsistence, recreation, economic support, and traditional and customary practices. As sea level rises, these buffers, habitats, and resources will be greatly impacted and infrastructure may no longer exist along the coast. The Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi will prioritize bills that: 

  1. Require mandatory seller/purchaser disclosures in real estate transactions within sea level rise exposure areas, 

  2. Require the State, Counties, and Public Utilities Commission to incorporate sea level rise predictions and other climate change hazards and mitigation opportunities into applicable plans, strategies, and mapping, and 

  3. Implement the recommendations of the 2017 Hawai‘i Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report issued by the Hawai‘i Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission.