Environment

Hawaii Just Gave President Donald Trump a Big Middle Finger

June 9th 2017

By:
Mike Rothschild

This week, Hawaii became the first state to explicitly defy President Donald Trump's pull out from the Paris Climate Accord.

Just days after Trump's announcement that the U.S. would leave the agreement, Hawaii passed a law bringing its environmental laws in line with the standards of the accord.

It will becomes the first state to commit to the Paris Climate Accord. It already has some of the strictest standards in the country, and the new law explicitly brings the state's climate change efforts in line with the goals of the other nations in the Paris agreement. This includes every country on the planet except the U.S., Syria, and Nicaragua.

According to Reuters, beyond setting climate protection as a priority for the state, the new bill "creates a state commission dedicated to studying climate change and putting out detailed plans for responding both to sea-level rise and climate change as a whole, with the stipulation that the plans align with the Paris agreement."

"Hawaii is committed to environmental stewardship, and we look forward to working with other states to fight global climate change," Gov. David Ige said in a statement after the bill was signed Tuesday. "Together, we can directly contribute to the global agenda of achieving a more resilient and sustainable island Earth."

The day Trump announced his intention to pull out of the agreement, many other cities and states took action to remain aligned to it. Immediately after the announcement, Washington, California and New York announced the creation of a "climate alliance” of states with the intentions of remaining committed to the Paris agreement's goals. That alliance has since grown to 13 states, with bipartisan support from governors and state legislators.

Beyond that, cities across the country announced their intention to fulfill the goals of the accord, no matter what official U.S. policy is. Within a week of the announcement, nearly 250 mayors in cities of all size and in both red and blue states had banded together to adopt the accord.

Technically, cities and states aren't sovereign entities and can't join an international accord. But they can informally resolve to stay in the agreement, and a group of hundreds of "Climate Mayors" released a statement affirming their intentions:

"We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create the 21st century clean energy economy. The world cannot wait— and neither will we.”

While the other states in the Climate Alliance have announced their intention to stay in the agreement, Hawaii is the first state to codify that intention into law. This also isn't the first time Hawaii has led the way in defying the whims of the Trump administration. In March, it became the first state to sue the federal government over the revised travel ban, a suit that led to the ban being blocked in federal court.