In a sign of solidarity with the global effort to combat climate change, Hawaii became the first state in the US to pass laws enforcing portions of the Paris Climate Accord.
Surrounded by several of Hawaii's elected officials Tuesday, Gov. David Ige signed two bills that will expand "strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide" and find ways to better capture and store "atmospheric carbon dioxide to mitigate climate change," a process known as carbon sequestration.
“Hawaii is committed to environmental stewardship, and we look forward to working with other states to fight global climate change," Ige said.
The two laws incorporate sections of the Paris agreement, giving the state "legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies for Hawai‘i, despite the federal government’s withdrawal from the treaty,” State Sen. Majority Leader J. Kalani English, who introduced one of the bills, said in a statement.
The Hawaii legislation is part of a growing movement of American states and cities who have committed to upholding the climate agreement signed by 200 countries. After Trump announced that the US would pull out of the accord last week, nearly 250 mayors and a dozen states swiftly joined alliances promising to uphold the terms of the landmark agreement.
Some of the sharpest criticism came from California Gov. Jerry Brown, who said his "state is ready for battle" against Trump's "misguided and insane course of action."
And California, which has the sixth-largest economy in the world, has already taken steps to fill the void created by the president's withdrawal from the agreement: The state senate recently passed legislation to ensure the state gets 100% of its power from renewable energy by 2045 and fast-tracked its goal to reach 50% renewable energy by 2026.
Although originally led by Democratic leaders like Brown, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, several Republican governors have also joined the fight. "The president's decision to withdraw the nation from the agreement only strengthens our commitment and makes the work of states more important," Republican Gov. Phil Scott of Vermont. said in a statement last week.
Brianna Sacks is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.
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