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Gov. Josh Green has ambitious plans to address climate change in Hawaii. In a press release last week, he promised “bold action” to “rescue what’s dear to us, to preserve our way of life.”
Green said he would recommit Hawaii to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 24 governors “committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
He created a Climate Advisory Panel, which will guide the appointment of a Cabinet-level climate adviser to coordinate climate initiatives among agencies.
He will pursue federal and private investments in clean energy development, including solar, energy efficiency and storage technologies.
But what generated the headlines was his plan to tap the state’s $1.9 billion budget surplus to create a $100 million Climate Impact Fund “to fight climate change and preserve the state’s natural resources.” Announcing the fund at the Jan. 9 kickoff of Climate Action Week, Green said he envisions the $100 million as seed money, to grow over time with public and private contributions.
While $100 million won’t win the war, it’s a promising start. Still, it’s a lot of money and it should be spend wisely, with careful oversight and defined goals.
The fund could advance any number of important initiatives: reducing carbon emissions, growing more trees, supporting local agriculture, expanding the use of clean energy and electric vehicles, mitigating coastal erosion — the list goes on and on. It’s hard to know where to begin, and it would be easy to spread the money around, in a scattershot way.
It would be better for Green and his climate gurus to lay the foundation for real long-term progress on our most intractable problems, the kind that will take years of sustained — and most important, coordinated — effort to solve.
One such problem is coastal erosion. For an island state, rising sea levels cut to the heart of our environment and…
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Wanda Beck is a technology reporter who covers the intersection of business and crypto. A native of Boston, Wanda spent almost five years at The Boston25News, where she wrote extensively about the media industry's struggle to adapt to the Internet.
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