State says it is past time to address climate change

  • map from the Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report

    Wailua and Kapaa will experience flooding with 3.2 feet of sea level rise, according to a recently released report from the state.

  • map from the Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report

    Kekaha will experience flooding with 3.2 feet of sea level rise, according to a recently released report from the state.

  • map from the Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report

    Pacific Missile Range Facility will experience flooding with 3.2 feet of sea level rise, according to a recently released report from the state.

LIHUE — Lawmakers will be looking at new rules to help mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts in the upcoming session, a list of which Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is developing.

“A lot of legislators are prepared to deal with the sunscreen and reefs, there was some (legislation on the table) last year,” said Bruce Anderson, DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources administrator.

DLNR is looking at a tiered approach to developing new rules, with some statewide laws and some community-based initiatives to protect reefs and forests, and to lessen the impacts of climate change.

Protection of underwater herbivores in managed areas is one option under consideration.

“We are working on a plan and hope to have it finalized by November,” Anderson said.

DLNR will be asking for more money, as increased preservation of forest and reef resources will require a bigger chunk of change.

“The Sea Level Rise report just came out. It’s intended to guide (lawmakers) and it’ll take a while to absorb,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case. “The base budget will be a key point.”

Additional staff members, like water quality monitoring coordinators, will most likely be one of the asks, according to Anderson, as well as funding for better spacial mapping.

Reforestation is another way DLNR is planning to mitigate climate change effects, and David Smith, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife administrator said his division will be approaching the Legislature for funding for that project statewide.

On Kauai, DOFAW’s landscape initiatives are aimed at animal control and fire rehabilitation, as well as working with Kauai Island Utility Cooperative and the biomass fuel plant to produce clean energy.

“At top capacity, that plant has the capability of providing 30 percent of the island’s energy renewably,” Smith said.

Eucalyptus and albezia are the trees targeted for the biofuel plant. Another project in Kokee is replacing old eucalyptus with koa trees and reforestation efforts are ongoing in the areas where fires have wiped out parts of the forest in Kokee.

DLNR panelists also highlighted the recently released Hawaii Sea Level Rise Vulnerability and Adaptation Report, which is the product of three years’ work by the Hawaii Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee.

The report is a testament to the state’s acknowledgement of climate change in general, Case said, as well as a look at current impacts and future adjustments and mitigations to deal with effects of climate change.

It identifies areas statewide where sea level rise is set to cause flooding through the end of the century, and incorporates some anticipated impacts of sea level rise, such as the need to move structures and roads from coastlines.

“Now that we have this document, this is an opportunity for everybody to get informed and on board,” said Sam Lemmo, DLNR Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands administrator.

According to the report, more than 900 structures will be chronically flooded by the 3.2 feet of sea level rise anticipated in the next century. More than 5,760 acres of land would be affected, and 6.5 miles of Kauai’s coastal roads would be impacted.

Kilauea, Ke’e and Polihale, as well as Nawiliwili will all be underwater after 3.2 feet of sea level rise, according to the report, and the land where Coco Palms sits will be a marshland.

In Wailua, the report illustrates a potential for five feet of passive flooding.

Recommendations for Kauai that come out of the report include amending State Legacy Lands Act to set aside funding for preservation of coastal lands and the enablement of legacy beaches.

Shoreline conservation and restoration, expansion of state, county and national parks and wildlife refuges, and the protection of nearshore water quality are also priorities in the report for Kauai.

With the release of the sea level report, conversations about climate change among Hawaii officials are ramping up, according to DLNR officials, and the goal is to keep the momentum moving.

“We expect to meet quarterly to continue the conversations, refine and disseminate the scientific research and predictions we get on climate change impacts, and develop the necessary plans and strategies to guide how Hawaii adapts to what we know will happen in the future,” Case said.

She continued: “We’re at the red flag stage now: we know it’s coming and we want to do everything humanly possible to avoid getting to the warning stage before it’s too late.”

  1. Uncleaina January 19, 2018 6:32 am Reply

    Our poor State- being led by clowns. Sea levels have risen 8 inches since 1880. So it’s genuinely dumb to claim it’s gonna rise 3.3 feet over the next 100 years. The rate of rise isn’t getting significantly faster either. Based on REAL data, it’ll be the year 2650 before the coasts would look like those maps! The State should be fixing the roads and schools; not saying the sky is falling. Ironically they can plan for things that’ll happen 600 years from now, but they can’t operate the emergency alerts they’ve had for a month. Auwe!

  2. Charlie Chimknee January 19, 2018 7:59 am Reply

    We repeat: There is no climate change, there is no Global Warming…there is though…Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Toxic Poison Corporate Pollution for Profit and a more and continued evolution of petroleum-chemicals used in almost everything from food to medicine and motor vehicles.

    Can we curb those cars and trucks…and ourselves…?…and our Food and Medicines saturated with petroleum carcinogenic cancer causing chemicals…?



  3. Bluedream January 19, 2018 8:04 am Reply

    Climate change hoax= more money for the government.
    Any questions?

  4. RG DeSoto January 19, 2018 8:31 am Reply

    What a colossal waste of time, effort and our money. To think that these pin-heads think that humans can alter geologic processes.

    Run the sky is falling!

    RG DeSoto

  5. Steve Martin January 19, 2018 9:04 am Reply

    Just maybe if we can get Susan Case to cry wolf about the conditions of our state roads instead of assumptions on climate change, we can get them better maintained as should be the priority here.

  6. rk669 January 19, 2018 4:29 pm Reply

    Climate change?? Tell that to the people on the mainland,where they’re having one of the coldest winters this year! Like President Trump Said,we could use some of that global warming Stuff?
    Believe me,the sky isn’t Falling any time soon! Your gonna get your global warming where Gods angel pours the 4th bowl of His Wrath on the Sun! Giving it the Power to Scortch Humans!

  7. Jeff Masters January 19, 2018 6:08 pm Reply

    Yes, global sea level rise has been about 8 inches over the past century, but has accelerated by 50% since 1993. The climate of the past 20th century is not the climate we have now, though, and we should expect more rapid acceleration of sea level rise in the coming decades. The science is fairly straightforward: adding CO2 to the atmosphere traps heat, causing the temperature to rise. Hotter temperatures melt more ice on land and make the water expand, causing sea levels to rise. I’ve been to many technical conferences to hear the world’s top sea level rise scientists speak, and they are in almost universal agreement that 3 feet of sea level rise by 2100 is probable.

  8. Tito Castillo January 19, 2018 10:03 pm Reply

    Sad to see the ignorance, or stubbornness on this thread. If you look at all scientific data, yes, the seas are rising. Just go to Lydgate Park, walk down the beach and check out the WW2 Bunkers now in the ocean. Give me a break. Ostrich mentality will get us nowhere. The signs are everywhere. Just look (not on youtube) at all of the data that is being presented by the WORLDS scientists (not just GOP Energy Giant funded puppets).
    For starters, look at this report from NASA:
    If you don’t believe NASA, how about the overwhelming support by the WORLD’S Scientific Community?
    Or how about this:

    Now, if you can sit there and dispute that any of this is happening after actually READING the content of the MANY reports issued by Planet Earth’s scientific community, then you are either blind, employed by the fossil fuel industry or are a GOP paid Troll. Sorry, Climate change IS REAL. DEAL WITH IT!

  9. Tito Castillo January 19, 2018 10:07 pm Reply

    “Scientific Consensus
    Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.
    For a partial list of these public statements and related resources READ:

  10. Tito Castillo January 19, 2018 10:19 pm Reply

    For the full report on Sea Rise from DNLR you can download it here:

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