East Hawaii News

Panel to Study Impacts of Sea-Level Change in Hawaii

June 9, 2014, 2:19 PM HST
* Updated June 9, 2:21 PM
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Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed into law a bill establishing a committee to study the potential impacts of climate change in Hawaii.

The inter-agency committee under the auspices of the Department of Land and Natural Resources would create a report on the state’s vulnerability to sea-level rise to the year 2050.

Act 83 also authorizes the state Office of Planning to use the committee’s report to coordinate climate adaptation plans and policy recommendations.

“This measure builds on Hawaii’s leadership in addressing climate change,” Abercrombie said in a statement.

“Being the only island state in the country, we are especially vulnerable to climate change and are on the frontlines of impacts like sea level rise,” he said. “I applaud the Legislature for passing this bill and recognizing that Hawaii is ideal as a learning laboratory to continue to contribute and shape our nation’s response to climate change adaptation.”

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House Bill 1714 was co-introduced by 41 members of the state House, including all seven members of the Big Island delegation.

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The Big Island is particularly susceptible to sea-level change because it is subsiding at a rate of about a tenth of an inch a year because of the increasing weight of new lava flows.

The Union of Concerned Scientists issued a report last month naming two federal parks on the island as among iconic landmarks and cultural heritage sites threatened by climate change in the United States.

The committee’s report is to be issued by Dec. 31, 2017.

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