LIHU‘E — Former Mayor Bernard Carvalho had a 10-year county-wide goal of reducing emissions from county government operations by 30% by 2023.
This year, the county is slightly behind on that goal, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been progress.
Kaua‘i is leading the state in renewable emergency implementation at 55%, moving toward 80% in the next few years, according to the Office of Economic Development which debriefed the Kaua‘i County Council on the island’s efforts to combat climate change.
In 2014, the county committed to the Aloha+ Challenge, a statewide commitment to achieve integrated sustainability goals by 2030 by using clean energy, focusing on local food production, natural resource management, waste reduction and education, according to the Kaua‘i Kakou General Plan 2018.
The plan puts focus on the county to prepare for how climate change will affect the economy, food systems and infrastructure. It’s estimated that climate change can rise sea level by at least three feet, and upward of six feet by 2100.
Planning Department Director Ka‘aina Hull explained that seal level and coastal hazard data will be used to inform land-use policies like building standards, open coastal edge zoning district proposals and managing retreat systems.
The Department of Parks and Recreation has been researching vulnerability and adaptation strategies for beach parks and beach nourishment projects, while the Department of Public Works has worked on building cod updates, improvements to the West Side Levee and ‘Aliomanu Seawall.
In the throes of the pandemic, the county is doubling down on economic recovery and resilience efforts, which includes energy efficiency and construction/retrofits and building community resilience hubs.
The council also got to see a sketch of the Wainiha Community Resilience Center that will house a community meeting space, kitchen and satellite office for first responders. It’ll be at the site of the former Ha‘ena School and emergency transfer station after the April 2018 floods.
Next January, the county hopes to be using island-wide assessments, integrated climate action strategies and public outreach for climate resilience and adaptation.
Later this month, the council will review the West Kaua‘i Community Plan, which will also have its own climate change action and objectives to address these concerns.
The county is also working on its Multi-Hazard Mitigation and Resilience Plan that includes strategies to strengthen the county’s resilience to natural disasters and other acute shocks. Public input can be added through a survey at kauai.gov/Mitigation.
Sabrina Bodon, government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.