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Did Hawaii just pave the way for court enforcement of California's climate promises?
By Selected News Articles @ 6:12 PM :: 509 Views :: Environment, Cost of Living

Opinion: Did Hawaii just pave the way for court enforcement of California's climate promises?

by Cara Horowitz and Evan George, LA Times, June 27, 2024 (excerpt)

… the Hawaii lawsuit focused not on a wholesale failure to adopt meaningful climate policies but on nitty-gritty questions about follow-through. The issue at trial would not have been whether officials made good laws but rather what happened after they did. In an age of proliferating climate pledges in liberal-leaning states such as California, New York and Hawaii, it’s a profound and important question.

The resulting settlement answers that question by providing benchmarks for a greenhouse gas reduction plan that will be overseen and enforced by a court through 2045 or until Hawaii achieves its zero-emission goal, “whichever is earlier.”

Under the agreement, the state must set interim decarbonization targets for the transportation sector in 2030, 2035 and 2040; report annually on its progress toward those targets; reform elements of the Transportation Department’s planning and budgeting to align them with the state’s climate goals; and spend millions of dollars in the short term on low-carbon infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations and bike lanes. The settlement also creates new leadership positions within the department charged with addressing climate change.

The settlement is far from a panacea. For example, it saves for another day the question of exactly how ambitious Hawaii’s interim decarbonization targets should be.

Nevertheless, the deal is trailblazing in a few ways. First, “it shows other governments the benefits to working with youth, not against them,” said Andrea Rodgers of Our Children’s Trust, one of the public-interest law firms that represented the plaintiffs. “This is the first time a government has decided to do that.”

As their lawsuit noted, the plaintiffs — surfers, divers, spearfishers and regenerative farmers among them — have suffered climate anxiety….

read … Opinion: Did Hawaii just pave the way for court enforcement of California's climate promises?

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