Gov. Green links Lāhainā fires to climate change during UN Sustainable Development Goals Summit

Listen to this Article
3 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green spoke Sunday at the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York, delivering a message about the destructive impact that climate change is having in the state.

“We are no longer anticipating the destructive effects of climate change — we are now fully enduring them,” he said, referring to the devastating Lāhainā wildfire on Aug. 8 that took 97 lives to date.

Green explained Hawai‘i’s efforts to implement policies to achieve the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals by 2030.

The goals include: no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry, innovation, infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace justice and strong institutions — and partnerships for the goals.

“There is no town, city or human community on earth that is safe from the kind of extreme weather fueled by climate change that we experienced in Hawai‘i last month,” Green said. “We are in this together — we are all part of one interconnected and interdependent global community.”


Green stated Hawai‘i’s commitment to moving forward with the Aloha+ Challenge, a statewide public-private commitment to achieve Hawai‘i’s social, economic and environmental goals by 2030.

Part of the Aloha + Challenge is to achieve 70% renewable energy for the electricity sector by 2030, with 40% from renewables and 30% from efficiency, with a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy by 2045.

“We urge our friends and neighbors in the global community to join us in our commitment to renewable green energy systems, protecting and strengthening our energy grids, and investing in solutions and technologies that can help reverse climate change,” he said.

This is the second time Green, along with Hawai‘i Green Growth, has addressed a UN summit. He first presented at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development on July 12, providing a state-level Voluntary Local Review on implementation of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals that are contained in the Aloha + Challenge.


Students from Kamehameha Schools opened the session with an oli (chant) and later the Kamehameha Schools Kaʻāmauloa Pathway students presented the second Voluntary Local Review in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. This report, drafted in partnership with public and private stakeholders, provided a comprehensive overview of Hawaiʻi’s progress and challenges toward meeting the sustainable development goals.

“The leadership displayed by the students from Kamehameha Schools is nothing short of remarkable,” Green said.

Hawaiʻi Green Growth CEO Celeste Connors said: “Hawaiʻi and island economies understand the challenge of achieving a safe, equitable and resilient future against the backdrop of climate change. They can help the rest of the world navigate towards a more sustainable path for island earth based on their experiences.”

On Monday, Green and the Hawaiʻi Green Growth delegation will participate in a panel titled “American Leadership on the SDGs” as part of the Brookings Institution/UN Foundation Event.


The 20-minute moderated fireside chat will be led by Tony Pipa of Brookings and will provide a platform for in-depth discussions on the critical transitions required to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030. The panel discussion will be at 2 a.m. HST and is in-person only, with no livestream available.

Today’s remarks by Green and video of the Hawai‘i Green Growth delegation are available via UN Web TV.

Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments