In a move that defies President Donald Trump, Hawaii on Tuesday became the first state to pass a law vowing to stay committed to the Paris climate agreement. Last week, Trump announced that the United States would be withdrawing from the agreement.
Governor David Y. Ige signed two bills at the capitol rotunda in Honolulu. One bill is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris agreement. The other will establish a new task force to help improve the health of the soil and remove carbon from the atmosphere.
The law signed on Tuesday will also promote “environmental integrity” as well as the conservation of forests and wetlands.
Hawaii has also joined a dozen other states as part of the U.S. Climate Alliance, which has promised to uphold the Paris climate agreement.
Other states that have joined the alliance include New York, Washington, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia, Vermont and California.
“Climate change is real, regardless of what others may say,” said the governor at the closing ceremony. “Hawaii is seeing the impacts firsthand. Tides are getting higher, biodiversity is shrinking, coral is bleaching, coastlines are eroding, weather is becoming more extreme. We must acknowledge these realities at home.”
“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,” he added.
Hawaii’s chairman of the agriculture and environment committee, Mike Gabbard, was not surprised that the state would be signing the law.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise for any of us to be here, when the president of the United States had climate change removed from the White House website,” said Mr. Gabbard.
The Trump administration removed many of the references to climate change from the White House website in January.