Hawaii passes law committing state to Paris climate deal

By Eric DuVall  |  June 8, 2017 at 3:08 PM
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June 8 (UPI) -- Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed legislation committing his state to upholding the tenets of the Paris climate accord, making it the first to do so after President Donald Trump announced the United States would withdraw from the global environmental agreement.

Hawaii is one of 10 states thus far to announce they will adhere to the Paris agreement despite Trump backing out of the deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama and leaders from more than 190 countries. But it is the first to codify that promise through binding legislation, signed Wednesday.

Ige said Hawaii's status as the lone island state makes it particularly prone to the effects of climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency last year cited rising sea levels, the acidification of ocean water and the increasing frequency of powerful storms as threats facing Hawaii due to global warming.

"Many of the greatest challenges of our day hit us first, and that means that we also need to be first when it comes to creating solutions," Ige said. "We are the testing grounds -- as an island state, we are especially aware of the limits of our natural environment."

Since taking office, Trump has sought to reverse several environmental regulations put in place under Obama he said are impediments to U.S. businesses and job creation. During the campaign, he questioned whether global warming is a result of human influence on the environment.

In the wake of Trump's decision, a group of mostly Democratic states have joined together to form the U.S. Climate Alliance.

Governors in those states have pledged to abide by the tenants of the Paris agreement. A second group including cities, states and large corporations led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it would draft a proposal to present to the United Nations promising the United States will live up to the pollution reduction goals set forth in the Paris accord despite the nation's formal withdrawal.

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