S.B. NO.



















     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that not only is climate change real, but it is the overriding challenge of the 21st century and one of the priority issues of the senate.  Climate change poses immediate and long-term threats to the State's economy, sustainability, security, and way of life.  Hawaii has a tradition of environmental leadership, having prioritized policies regarding conservation, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and development and use of alternative renewable energy.  The legislature has passed numerous measures over the last decade to address climate change.

     The legislature recognized in Act 234, Session Laws of Hawaii 2007, that "climate change poses a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, natural resources, and the environment of Hawaii . . . " and that the "potential adverse effects of global warming include a rise in sea levels resulting in the displacement of businesses and residences and the inundation of Hawaii's freshwater aquifers, damage to marine ecosystems and the natural environment, extended drought and loss of soil moisture, an increase in the spread of infectious diseases, and an increase in the severity of storms and extreme weather events."  Countless scientific studies have concluded that greenhouse gas emissions are a leading contributing factor to global warming.  The purpose of Act 234 was to achieve a cost-effective statewide greenhouse gas emissions limit at or below the State's greenhouse gas emissions estimates of 1990 by 2020.  However, even if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced to 1990 levels, Hawaii will still be significantly impacted by climate change well into the future, thus the legislature acknowledges that climate change requires a two-pronged approach reduction of activities that contribute to global warming and adaptations to mitigate the impacts of climate change on the State.

     Act 73, Session Laws of Hawaii 2010, established the environmental response, energy, and food security tax, otherwise known as the barrel tax, to provide resources for addressing the effects of climate change.  Act 286, Session Law of Hawaii 2012, amended the Hawaii State Planning Act to establish climate change adaptation priority guidelines, which require that all county and state activities consider the impacts of climate change in land use, capital improvement, and program decisions.  The legislature also finds that in 2013, President Barack Obama appointed former Governor Neil Abercrombie to serve on the President's Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to develop recommendations on how the federal government can better support state, local, and tribal efforts in climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience in the areas of Disaster Management; Built Systems (water, transportation, energy, facilities, and coastal infrastructure); Natural Resources and Agriculture; and Community Development and Health.  The Hawaii Climate Adaptation Initiative Act, Act 83, Session Laws of Hawaii 2014, established an interagency climate adaptation committee and authorized the office of planning to coordinate development of statewide climate adaptation plans to address the effects of climate change through 2050 to protect the State's economy, health, environment, and way of life.

     The legislature further finds that on December 12, 2015, one hundred ninety-five countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted an agreement addressing greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance starting in the year 2020, known as the Paris Agreement.  Under the Agreement, the parties will set greenhouse gas reductions goals, record and communicate information through a transparency mechanism, and provide support to undeveloped countries through a finance mechanism.  Specifically, the Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change, in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty, including by:

     (1)  Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;

     (2)  Increasing the ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change and foster climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development, in a manner that does not threaten food production; and

     (3)  Making finance flows consistent with a pathway toward low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development.

The Agreement will be implemented to reflect equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances.  The Paris Agreement was adopted on November 4, 2016, and is the largest concerted global effort to combat climate change to date.  Regardless of federal action, the legislature supports the goals of the Paris Agreement to combat climate change and its effects on environments, economies, and communities around the world.

     Therefore, the purpose of this Act is to ensure statewide support for Hawaii's green initiatives and to further the State's commitment to combat climate change by systematically reducing and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions through the enactment of principles that mirror many of the provisions adopted in the Paris Agreement.

     SECTION 2.  (a)  The State, through the lead of the department of accounting and general services, shall undertake strategies and mechanisms to reduce and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions of all state departments and agencies.  Such strategies and mechanisms shall utilize the best available science to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and be closely aligned with the climate change ideals adopted in the Paris Agreement.  The department of accounting and general services shall prepare, communicate, and maintain successive state-determined goals that it intends to achieve.  Through the lead of the department of accounting and general services, all state departments and agencies shall pursue local mitigation measures, with the aim of achieving the goals.  The successive state-determined goals shall represent a progression beyond the State's current state-determined contribution of greenhouse gas emissions and shall reflect its highest possible ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

     (b)  In communicating the state-determined goals, the department of accounting and general services shall provide to all state departments and agencies the information necessary for clarity, transparency, and understanding in order for each entity to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.  The department of accounting and general services shall communicate the greenhouse gas emission contribution levels every five years and post that information on its website.  In accounting for anthropogenic emissions and removals corresponding to determined contributions, the department of accounting and general services shall promote environmental integrity, transparency, accuracy, completeness, comparability and consistency, and ensure the avoidance of double counting.  The State shall strive to formulate and communicate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies.  The State shall take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases, including forests, wetlands, and nature preserves.

     (c)  The legislative, executive, and judicial branches are encouraged to take action to implement and support policy approaches and positive incentives for activities relating to reducing emissions from deforestation, forest degradation, the reduction and removal of wetlands, and the role of conservation, and alternative policy approaches including joint mitigation and adaptation approaches for the integral and sustainable management of forests, wetlands, and nature preserves while reaffirming the importance of incentivizing, as appropriate, non-carbon benefits associated with such approaches.

     (d)  The State shall promote sustainable development and ensure environmental integrity and transparency.  The department of accounting and general services shall establish a mechanism to contribute to the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions and support sustainable development in the State.  The mechanism shall aim to:

     (1)  Promote the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions while fostering sustainable development;

     (2)  Incentivize and facilitate participation in the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions by public and private entities;

     (3)  Contribute to the reduction of emission levels in the State; and

     (4)  Deliver an overall mitigation in state emissions.

The department of accounting and general services shall adopt rules in accordance with section 91 to implement the mechanism.

     (e)  The State recognizes the importance of integrated, holistic, and balanced non-market approaches to assist in the implementation of assessing its state-determined contributions of greenhouse gases and in achieving its goals to reduce and mitigate those gases in a coordinated and effective manner, including through mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology transfer, and capacity-building, as appropriate.  These approaches shall aim to:

     (1)  Promote mitigation and adaptation ambition;

     (2)  Enhance public and private sector participation in the implementation of state-determined goals; and

     (3)  Enable opportunities for coordination across instruments and relevant institutional arrangements.

     (f)  The State, through the lead of the department of accounting and general services, establishes the statewide goal of adaptation by enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience, and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to contributing to sustainable development and ensuring an adequate adaptation response in the context of the temperature goal of well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.  The State recognizes that adaptation is a global challenge faced by all with local, subnational, national, regional, and international dimensions, and that it is a key component of and makes a contribution to the long-term global response to climate change to protect people, livelihoods, and ecosystems, taking into account the urgent and immediate needs of those who are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

     The State recognizes that the current need for adaptation is significant and that greater levels of mitigation can reduce the need for additional adaptation efforts, and that greater adaptation needs can involve greater adaptation costs.  The State acknowledges that adaptation action should follow a state-driven, gender-responsive, participatory, and fully transparent approach, taking into consideration vulnerable groups, communities, and ecosystems, and should be based on and guided by the best available science and, as appropriate, traditional knowledge, knowledge of indigenous peoples, and local knowledge systems, with a view to integrating adaptation into relevant socioeconomic and environmental policies and actions.

     (g)  The State recognizes the importance of support for and statewide cooperation on adaptation efforts and the importance of taking into account the needs of those who are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.  The State recognizes the role of healthy ecosystems in providing natural solutions for both mitigation and adaptation.  Healthy coral reefs, coastal trees, and foliage provide protection to coastal communities.  Forested catchments and wetlands filter and manage the quality and flow of water.  Land and marine nature reserves conserve essential biodiversity and provide added resilience to climate change.  All departments and agencies of the State shall strengthen their cooperation with other parties on enhancing action on adaptation by:

     (1)  Sharing information, good practices, experiences and lessons learned, including those that relate to science, planning, policies, and implementation in relation to adaptation actions;

     (2)  Strengthening institutional arrangements to support the synthesis of relevant information and knowledge, and the provision of technical support and guidance;

     (3)  Strengthening scientific knowledge on climate, including research, systematic observation of the climate system, and early warning systems, in a manner that informs climate services and supports decision-making; and

     (4)  Improving the effectiveness and durability of adaptation actions.

     (h)  The department of accounting and general services shall engage in adaptation planning processes and the implementation of actions, including the development or enhancement of relevant plans, policies, and goals, which may include:

     (1)  The implementation of adaptation actions, undertakings, or efforts;

     (2)  The process to formulate and implement statewide adaptation plans;

     (3)  The assessment of climate change impacts and vulnerability, with a view to formulating state-determined prioritized actions, taking into account vulnerable people, places, and ecosystems;

     (4)  Monitoring, evaluating, and learning from adaptation plans, policies, programs, and actions; and

     (5)  Building the resilience of socioeconomic and ecological systems, including through economic diversification and sustainable management of natural resources.

     (i)  The department of accounting and general services shall submit and update periodically an adaptation report that:

     (1)  May include its priorities, implementation, and support needs, plans, and actions; and

     (2)  Shall include a state adaptation plan and recommendations regarding the following:

         (A)  The enhancement of the implementation of adaptation actions;

         (B)  The adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation and support provided for adaptation; and

         (C)  The overall progress made in achieving the state goal on adaptation.

     (j)  The State recognizes the importance of averting, minimizing, and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow onset events, and the role of sustainable development in reducing the risk of loss and damage.  The State shall enhance understanding, action, and support, as appropriate, on a cooperative and facilitative basis with respect to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change.  Accordingly, areas of cooperation and facilitation to enhance understanding, action, and support may include:

     (1)  Early warning systems;

     (2)  Emergency preparedness;

     (3)  Slow onset events;

     (4)  Events that may involve irreversible and permanent loss and damage;

     (5)  Comprehensive risk assessment and management;

     (6)  Risk insurance facilities, climate risk pooling, and other insurance solutions;

     (7)  Non-economic losses; and

     (8)  Resilience of communities, livelihoods, and ecosystems.

     (k)  The State shall hold a long-term vision on the importance of fully realizing technology development and transfer in order to improve resilience to climate change and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  The State, noting the importance of technology for the implementation of mitigation and adaptation actions under this Act and recognizing existing technology deployment and dissemination efforts, shall strengthen cooperative action on technology development and transfer.  Accelerating, encouraging, and enabling innovation is critical for an effective, long-term global response to climate change and promoting economic growth and sustainable development.

     (l)  Capacity-building under this Act shall enhance the capacity and ability of developing areas, in particular areas with the least capacity, and those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change to take effective climate change action, including to implement adaptation and mitigation actions, and should facilitate technology development, dissemination and deployment, access to climate finance, relevant aspects of education, training and public awareness, and the transparent, timely, and accurate communication of information.  Capacity-building shall be state driven, based on and responsive to state needs, at state and local levels.  Capacity-building should be guided by lessons learned and should be an effective, iterative process that is participatory, cross-cutting, and gender-responsive.  Capacity-building activities shall be enhanced through appropriate institutional arrangements to support the implementation of this Act.  All state departments and agencies shall cooperate in taking measures to enhance climate change education, training, public awareness, public participation, and public access to information. 

     (m)  In order to build mutual trust and confidence and to promote effective implementation, an enhanced transparency framework for action and support with built-in flexibility is established.  The purpose of the framework for transparency of action is to provide a clear understanding of climate change action, including clarity and tracking of progress toward achieving the State's state-determined goals and adaptation actions, including good practices, priorities, needs, and gaps to inform the public.  The department of accounting and general services shall regularly provide the following information:

     (1)  A state inventory report of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases, prepared using good practice methodologies; and

     (2)  Information necessary to track the State's greenhouse gas emission contribution levels and the progress made in implementing and achieving the State's state-determined goals of reducing and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

     (n)  The State shall periodically review the implementation of this Act to assess progress toward achieving the purpose of this Act and its long-term goals.  It shall do so in a comprehensive and facilitative manner, considering mitigation, adaptation, and the means of implementation and support, and in the light of equity and the best available science.  The State shall undertake its first review in 2023 and every five years thereafter.  The outcome of the review shall inform the State in updating and enhancing, in a state-determined manner, its actions and support in accordance with the relevant provisions of this Act.

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2017-2018 and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2018-2019 for administering strategies and mechanisms to reduce and mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions of all state departments and agencies.

     The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of accounting and general services for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 4.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2017.








Report Title:

Climate Change; Paris Agreement; Policy Priorities; Appropriation



Enacts relevant provisions of the Paris Agreement as Hawaii state law.  Makes an appropriation.




The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.