Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Hawaii has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 -- an ambitious goal given how dependent the islands are on supplies delivered by ships and airplanes.


New Legislation Commits Hawaii To Being Carbon Neutral By 2045

Hawaii has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2045 — an ambitious goal given how dependent the islands are on supplies delivered by ships and airplanes.

Hawaii is especially vulnerable to climate change. “We’re on the forefront of climate change impacts,” Scott Glenn, head of the state’s environmental quality office, tells Fast Company. “We experience it directly and we’re a small island. People feel the trade wind days becoming less. They notice the changes in rain. They feel it getting hotter. Because we are directly exposed to this, there’s no denying it.” Glenn adds that the state’s political leaders are “unified in acknowledging that climate change is real and that we do need to do something about it.”

This month, the state’s legislature passed, and Governor David Ige signed, three pieces of legislation that seek to make Hawaii carbon neutral by 2045. One bill establishes the carbon neutral goal, another will make the funds derived from carbon offsets available to plant more trees in the islands, and the third requires new building projects to consider sea level rise in engineering decisions.

One of the biggest challenges for Hawaii is transportation. It can control emissions from the cars and trucks on its roads but has no direct control over emissions from ships and airplanes — both of which are essential to the state’s economy. “Those are global transportation networks that don’t have easy substitutes right now,” Glenn says.

“That’s one of the reasons why we really want to pursue the carbon offset program, because we know we’re going to continue to be dependent on shipping and aviation, and if they continue to burn carbon to bring us our tourists and our goods and our supplies and our food, then we want to try to have a way to sequester the impact we’re causing by importing all this stuff to our islands.”

One way of approaching the problem is to make the islands more self-sufficient when it comes to the food its people eat. Right now, around 90% of the 6 million pounds of food a day residents consume comes to the islands on planes or ships. Governor Ige is proposing to double local food production by 2030.

Hawaii may become a laboratory for other states as they seek to trim their own emissions. “There’s a lot of innovation and research happening across the Hawaii island right now,” says Glenn. Each island has a standalone electric grid, unlike the mainland US, where everything is interconnected. The grids are also of different sizes and use different forms of renewable energy. That makes Hawaii a good place for companies to see how clean tech ideas work in different conditions.

The lessons learned by Hawaii may lead to improvements in low and zero emissions technology that can be adopted by other states. “We’re small,” Glenn says. “We’re a rounding error to the emissions that California has. But [others] say, if Hawaii can do it, we can do it. If an island in the middle of the Pacific can make this happen, then we can make it happen. That’s what we try to do. That’s the role we see ourselves having within our national dialogue.”

Mahalo nui loa, Hawaii.

Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.


#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.


Support our work today!


Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports


EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats


Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Originally published on Transport & Environment. By Eoin Bannon The global shipping fleet will be required to reduce its carbon intensity by just 1.5% a year...

Clean Power

A massive treasure chest of offshore wind energy lies between New York and New Jersey, and it is finally available for the taking.

Clean Power

U.S. Department of Energy Announces $14.5 Million to Accelerate Deployment of Geothermal Electricity

Clean Power

The Gulf of Mexico is finally ready for its offshore wind power closeup, and the state of Louisiana is ready to pounce.

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.