HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021
STATE OF HAWAII
A BILL FOR AN ACT
RELATING TO CARBON OFFSETS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:
SECTION 1. The legislature finds that climate change is the most pressing issue of our time. There are many contributors to climate change, and transportation-generated greenhouse gas emissions are a significant contributor. The legislature acknowledges that, within the transportation sector, the air transportation component faces particularly difficult technical challenges in reducing carbon dioxide emissions associated with air travel. Since air travel is essential to tourism, the legislature notes that air travel and its associated carbon emissions will remain key elements of Hawaii's intertwined economy and climate for the foreseeable future.
In the past few years, the United Nations has established an extensive framework for the provision of carbon offsets for carbon emissions resulting from international air travel, known as the carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation. A pilot phase for this program is scheduled for 2021. However, the carbon offsetting and reduction scheme for international aviation will not apply to air travel to Hawaii from the continental United States.
The legislature further finds that, for essential activities, including air travel, that are, at least in the near term, intractably resistant to technological solutions to carbon emission reductions, the use of carbon offsets to compensate for those emissions is a strategic necessity for achieving the zero emission clean economy target set for the State by Act 15, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018.
The legislature recognizes that air travelers are increasingly aware of the climate change implications of their travel. The legislature believes that due to this awareness, many travelers will take advantage of a program that provides for the voluntary purchase of carbon offsets. The legislature additionally finds that the ease of purchasing offsets may have the effect of enhancing the desirability of travel to Hawaii.
Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to provide a process by which the department of transportation shall assist persons traveling by air to or from airports in Hawaii in the purchase of verifiable carbon offsets to compensate for carbon dioxide emissions from air travel.
SECTION 2. Chapter 261, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:
"§261- Air travel carbon offset purchase. (a) Pursuant to its authority under section 261-4, the department, in consultation with the office of planning, shall facilitate the voluntary purchase of verified carbon offsets by persons engaging in qualified air travel to or from an airport in the State. To effectuate this purpose, the department:
(1) Shall establish a process to receive requests from persons who will be engaging in, or have recently engaged in, qualified air travel to or from an airport in the State for assistance in voluntarily purchasing a verified carbon offset;
(2) Shall use reasonable best efforts to facilitate the requestor's connection with a provider of verified carbon offsets from whom the requestor may purchase a verified carbon offset;
(3) Shall have personnel available at one or more kiosks in each airport in the State, during those times when incoming or outgoing flights are occurring, in highly visible locations at which the services described in paragraphs (1) and (2) shall be provided;
(4) Shall place information on the department's website describing the processes established pursuant to this section, including interactive capability by which air travelers may arrange for the online purchase of verified carbon offsets;
(5) Shall encourage airlines using airports in the State to provide links on the airlines' respective websites to the department's webpage concerning carbon offsets for air travel;
(6) Shall maintain a list of public and private entities that provide verified carbon offsets for passenger air travel; and
(7) May contract with other entities to conduct one or more of the duties described in paragraphs (1) through (6).
(b) For the purposes of this section:
"Qualified air travel" means any air travel regulated under this chapter that occurs between an airport in the State and any other airport in the United States, including other airports in the State.
"Verified" means, with respect to a carbon offset, a reduction in carbon dioxide, or carbon dioxide-equivalent amount of other greenhouse gases, that is determined to be real, permanent, and unlikely to occur in the absence of an offset program, through a process of validation and verification by an independent third party."
SECTION 3. Section 261-1, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new definition to be appropriately inserted and to read as follows:
""Carbon offset" means a reduction in carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases in, or emitted into, the atmosphere that is achieved by or on behalf of a person to compensate, in a carbon dioxide-equivalent amount, for the emissions of carbon dioxide resulting from air travel by the person to or from an airport in the State. "Carbon offset" includes an action that removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or that reduces future greenhouse gas emissions."
SECTION 4. Section 261-4, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (a) to read as follows:
"(a) Establishment, operation, maintenance. The department [
may, on behalf of and in the name of the State, out of appropriations and other
moneys available or made available for [ such] these purposes,
plan, acquire, establish, construct, enlarge, improve, maintain, equip,
install, operate, regulate, and protect, airports, air navigation facilities,
buildings, and other facilities to provide for the servicing of aircraft; [ to]
provide for the comfort, accommodation, and convenience of air travelers[ ;],
which may include but is not limited to the provision of assistance to air travelers
who wish to purchase carbon offsets for carbon dioxide emissions resulting from
the traveler's respective air travel to or from an airport in the State;
and [ to] protect against airport hazards."
SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.
SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.
DOT; Office of Planning; Air Travel; Verified Carbon Offsets; Qualified Air Travel
Establishes procedures for the department of transportation, in consultation with the office of planning, to assist and enable a person to voluntarily purchase a verified carbon offset for carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the person's air travel to or from an airport in the State. Effective 7/1/2050. (HD1)
The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.