As 1st state to declare climate emergency, Hawaii calls for action on ‘existential threat’

On April 29, Hawaii became the first state in U.S. history to declare a climate emergency calling for a effort to detach from the dependence of fossil fuels by the year 2030. 

The state passed the legislature HI SCR44 "declaring A Climate Emergency And Requesting Statewide Collaboration Toward An Immediate Just Transition And Emergency Mobilization Effort To Restore A Safe Climate."

While the bill is mostly symbolic, it calls climate change an existential threat, which calls for "statewide collaboration toward an immediate just transition and emergency mobilization effort to restore a safe climate."

The authors of the bill are calling for the replacement of fossil fuels with more environmentally friendly ways of powering the state, including solar and wind, by the year 2030. 

"If we are serious about averting catastrophic planetary changes, we need to reduce emissions by 45 percent by 2030," Tedd Bohlen, of Climate Protectors of Hawaii said during a state House Committee hearing in March. 

The news follows similar action by California Gov. Gavin Newsom who signed an executive order in September to ban gas-powered cars and trucks in the state by 2035. 

Newsom said he would also direct the California Air Resources Board to establish regulations that require all new cars and passenger trucks be zero-emission vehicles by 2045 "where feasible." 

"This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change," Newsom said while announcing the order. "For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. You deserve to have a car that doesn’t give your kids asthma... Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines."

The Hawaii legislation to address climate change cited thousands of studies published by scientists as a "warning to humanity," declaring human beings to be a detrimental force behind the devastating impacts of climate change. 

"In 2017, over fifteen thousand scientists published a "Warning to Humanity", declaring that greenhouse gases produced from human activities have ‘pushed Earth's ecosystems to their breaking point,'" bill authors wrote. 

A March report from the National Intelligence Council painted a grim picture of a world fragmented by the lasting impacts of the novel coronavirus and climate change. 

The report — published every four years — is titled "Global Trends," is intended to help policymakers and citizens anticipate the economic, environmental, technological and demographic forces likely to shape the world through the next 20 years.

RELATED: US intelligence report paints a grim picture of a post-COVID-19 world

"During the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded the world of its fragility and demonstrated the inherent risks of high levels of interdependence. In coming years and decades, the world will face more intense and cascading global challenges ranging from disease to climate change to the disruptions from new technologies and financial crises," the report read. 

Report authors also explained that the effects of climate change are likely to worsen the problem of food and water insecurity in poor countries and hasten global migration. Though health, education and household prosperity have made historic improvements in recent decades, continued progress will be hard to sustain because of "headwinds" not only from the effects of the pandemic but also aging populations and "potentially slower global economic growth."