Hawaii is the First US State to Declare Climate Emergency
It is a well-known fact that climate change has not spared any corner of our planet. Whether it is the ocean, land, or air – all of them have been adversely affected due to climate change. Though steps are being taken to reduce the effects of climate change, they have proved to be not enough.
However, Hawaii, the 50th state of the United States of America has taken a historic step to battle climate change. Hawaii has become the first state in the US to pass a non-binding emergency resolution and declare a climate emergency.
The non-biding emergency resolution was introduced by Democrat Hawaii State Senator Mike Gabbard and was passed on April 29. The resolution was then approved by the State’s Legislature.
Senator Mike Gabbard said,
I’m very pleased that the Legislature has taken this step by declaring a climate emergency. We must take strong action to address climate change related challenges, such as sea level rise, coastal erosion, and the protection of our critical infrastructure.
The resolution has termed climate change a threat to humans as well as the environment. It also calls for urgent and statewide action to be taken to lessen the adverse effects of climate change.
It has also called on the government to make choices that are going to ensure a more sustainable future. The resolution also urged for a ban on public and private investments that would further deteriorate the climate.
It asked the lawmakers to pass bills that facilitate investment in low and zero-emission projects and reforestation efforts throughout the state.
Hawaii has been facing the effects of climate change as droughts have become common in the islands. Changing climatic conditions have affected rivers, freshwater streams and have reduced the access to water to the indigenous population of Hawaii.
Climate scientists have claimed that more frequent and powerful storms are going to batter Hawaii in the future. Furthermore, the coral reefs of Hawaii are expected to disappear virtually by the end of this century – according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment.
Similar challenges are being faced by serval US Pacific Territories including American Samoa and Guam. Climate Emergency Advocates have claimed that about 1,933 jurisdictions and local governments worldwide have declared a climate emergency. These jurisdictions represent around 826 million of the population.
In 2019, local governments of Hawaii Island and Maui counties had declared a climate emergency.