Carbon and Climate Change

Hawaiʻi’s climate is changing—temperatures are warming, rainfall is decreasing, and sea levels are rising. Our atmosphere is overloaded with carbon dioxide released by humans burning coal, oil, and gas, while we continue to lose acres of critical native forests that serve as natural intakes of carbon. Hawaiʻi is at the forefront of clean energy standards, with our goal of achieving 100% renewable electricity by 2045, but collectively, we should be doing more to mitigate the carbon that already exists in our atmosphere.

Quick facts:

  • Hawaiʻi produces 18 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year

  • In one year, a single acre of forest can absorb two times the carbon produced by the average car’s annual mileage

  • Carbon offset projects are already underway on Haleakalā and Mauna Kea where large areas of native forests are being restored

Why does this matter

  • If we stop releasing carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels today, global warming would still continue because carbon is trapped in the atmosphere

  • Carbon offset programs will help generate funds to support natural resource managers, private and public—like the Department of Land and Natural Resources, who work to protect Hawaiʻi’s natural resources

  • Restoring native forests will not only decrease the amount of carbon in the atmosphere but will also increase rainfall capture that feeds our drinking water aquifers and help mitigate erosion and flooding throughout the islands






How you can help

See priority bills here

Call your legislators and ask them to support bills that:

  • Establish programs for state agencies and other businesses that offset their carbon emissions (HB1986)

  • Helps Hawaiʻi build a resilient clean energy economy that takes in more carbon than it produces by 2045 (HB2724)

  • Support other means of increasing carbon sequestration

Submit testimony in support of these bills when scheduled for hearings

Check out more posts on carbon here