WAILUKU, Hawaiʻi — The Maui County Council has recognized “a climate emergency, which threatens humanity and the natural world” and is committed to a “Just Transition” to a safe climate, with the adoption of Resolution 19-209 on Friday, Council Chair Kelly Takaya King announced today.
Entitled “Acknowledging a Climate Emergency and Committing to an Immediate Just Transition and Emergency Mobilization Effort to Restore a Safe Climate,” the resolution was introduced by King and adopted by a 9-0 vote. The resolution cites a variety of reports—and dire projections—on the global and local impact of sea-level rise and other climate-change effects.
The resolution notes the Countywide Policy Plan, adopted by ordinance in 2010, includes an official policy to “reduce Maui County’s contribution to global climate change.” King said she isn’t deterred by the Trump Administration’s refusal to have the United States join other nations in following the 2016 Paris Climate Accord.
“We don’t have time to wait for a change in the national administration to fight climate change,” said King, who is in her second two-year term on the council, holding the South Maui residency seat. “We need to partner with anyone and everyone—locally, national, globally—who is willing to help us make a just transition to a safe climate.”
Rita Ryan of the Climate Reality Project offered support for the resolution, citing climate-change risks to island communities both in Hawaiʻi and throughout the world.
“Poorer and island nations are going to suffer the most, and that’s a climate injustice,” Ryan said. “Our cultural and anthropologic resources are being lost to sea-level rise right here on Maui.”
The resolution says the “Just Transition” principle—first forged by the BlueGreen Alliance of labor unions and environmental-justice groups—“is a framework for a fair shift to an economy that is ecologically sustainable, equitable and just for all its members.”
Under the resolution, the county commits “to countywide action rooted in equity, self-determination, culture, tradition and the belief that people locally and around the world have the right to clean, healthy and adequate air, water, land, food, education and shelter.”
Another resolution, to be considered at Friday’s special council meeting, would create a new standing committee, the Climate Change and Resilience Committee, to be chaired by King. More information is available on the council website, MauiCounty.us.