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A pedestrian walks across a flooded street in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 7, 2021, the morning after powerful winter tropical storm known as a Kona Low hit the Hawaii islands with heavy rain and high winds causing wide spread flooding and power outages across the state. (Photo: Eugene Tanner/AFP via Getty Images)

A pedestrian walks across a flooded street in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 7, 2021, the morning after powerful winter tropical storm known as a Kona Low hit the Hawaii islands with heavy rain and high winds causing wide spread flooding and power outages across the state. (Photo: Eugene Tanner/AFP via Getty Images)

Hawaii Legislature Calls For Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

"Let us hope this triggers other states to help generate the momentum for a wave of international cooperation to end the era of deadly fossil fuels."

Andrea Germanos

Hawaii lawmakers put the state on the path to making history after the Legislature passed a resolution Thursday endorsing a document called the "Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty."

"Hawaii is taking our own bold actions for climate change resilience and to move off fossil fuels."

"Hawaii has reminded the world of the climate leadership and spirit communities throughout the Pacific have embodied for decades by calling for the immediate phaseout fossil fuels and... a just transition to ensure the survival and continued flourishing of our peoples and our planet for generations to come," said Auimatagi Joe Moeono-Kolio, a campaigner with the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative.

"Just as our ancestors did and continue to model for us today," he continued, "this announcement is a reminder of our common responsibility and stewardship and one we hope the U.S.— and the world—can learn from."

Senate Concurrent Resolution 108, introduced by state Sen. Karl Rhoads (D-13), passed the upper chamber Thursday after clearing the House last month.

The measure affirms Hawaii's commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, the United Nations Sustainable Development goals, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's targets for greenhouse gas reductions.

It additionally calls on the state and each of its counties to formally endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The federal government is urged to do the same.

Launched in 2020, the treaty initiative is grounded in three pillars, the first of which is immediately ending all new exploration and production of oil, gas, and coal. At the same time, existing fossil fuel production must be phased out in line with the Paris agreement's 1.5°C threshold for warming, with wealthier nations leading the effort. The third pillar calls for a "peaceful and just transition" to a renewable energy system that provides "real solutions... for every worker, community, and country."

The treaty has been backed by dozens of cities, over 100 Nobel laureates, and thousands of scientists who warned that "while the Paris agreement lays an important foundation for action on the demand-side of the equation, without international cooperation and policy processes focusing on the supply of fossil fuels, countries will continue to overshoot their already insufficient emissions targets."

If Hawaii follows through on the resolution's call to endorse the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, proponents say, it would become the first U.S. state and Pacific Island to do so—another welcome development after Hawaii made history last year in becoming the first U.S. state to declare a climate emergency.

"Hawaii is taking our own bold actions for climate change resilience and to move off fossil fuels," Rhoads said in a statement.

Still, supporters of the resolution acknowledge that urgent climate action is required from policymakers, government officials, and industry leaders across the globe.

That's more than evident to 17-year-old Tyler Levine from Oahu.

"We youth are being placed in a world that is quite literally falling apart with no means to correct the predicament," said Levine. "This is because the interests of fossil fuel industries and 'business-as-usual' are not weighed against the people who do not have the right to vote."

"To rewrite the history of our future," he called it "imperative that Hawaii as a state endorses the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to start a transition towards equitable green jobs and clean renewable energy.”

Tzeporah Berman, chair of the treaty Initiative and also international program director at Stand.earth, expressed hope that the resolution could be a catalyst for similar action by other governments.

"For the sake of our future," she said, "let us hope this triggers other states to help generate the momentum for a wave of international cooperation to end the era of deadly fossil fuels."


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