PIRCA report and forum inspires Honolulu Weekly cover story
Climate change is front-page news today. The cover story in this week’s Honolulu Weekly, titled, “Climate Change in Hawaii: It’s Here,” features researcher and state administrator perspectives on adapting to the local effects of a changing climate.
Shortly after the Pacific Islands Regional Climate Forum on Dec. 10, the Honolulu Weekly contacted us to arrange interviews with PIRCA editors and contributors. Pacific RISA investigators and PIRCA editors were key sources of knowledge for the Honolulu Weekly, as they interviewed and quoted Dr. Victoria Keener, Dr. John Marra, Dr. Melissa Finucane, Ms. Deanna Spooner, and Mr. Richard Wallsgrove on topics such as sea-level rise, changing rainfall patterns, and the need for adaptive responses.
The article also provides insights from Hawai‘i public officials who served on a panel at the forum. Jesse Souki, Director of the state’s Office of Planning, and Department of Land and Natural Resources Director William Aila Jr. revealed aspects of their approaches to planning for climate change. For instance, Mr. Aila explained that he will enforce policies limiting the construction of seawalls to avoid safety hazards and costs to the public. Seawalls harden the shoreline, causing increased erosion of beaches, which are natural buffers to storm surge and high-tide events. The article quoted Mr. Souki, who described his approach, “We’re not going to be drowning under water in 50 years. It will be a gradual sea level rise. We need to keep working incrementally in a way that doesn’t get landowners too excited because we’re talking about extreme measures, while still taking steps to protect public health and safety.”
The article identified recently enacted state-level policies that aim to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, including Act 286, legislation that added climate adaptation “priority guidelines” to the State Planning Act last year. To learn more about Hawai’i’s climate change policies, download our “Climate Change Law and Policy in Hawai‘i Briefing Sheet, 2012.”
You can read the full article at http://honoluluweekly.com/ or pick up a free copy of the Jan. 2 issue at one of the Honolulu Weekly’s many newsstands located throughout O‘ahu neighborhoods.