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Proposed measure would further limit greenhouse gas emissions by 2030

The smokestacks of a coal-fired power plant near Emmet, Kan., in September 2020. Global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.
Charlie Riedel

The Legislature is moving forward on a measure to set a new goal of limiting greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030.

The bill would also fund a study by the Hawaiʻi State Energy Office on how to reach that goal. The study would be completed before the beginning of the 2024 legislative session.

Chief Energy Officer Scott Glenn says the proposed legislation differs from the state’s other climate mitigation goals, such as 100% renewable energy production by 2045.

"The 2045 goal is a net negative goal to sequester more than we emit by 2045. But the other language in there, the operable language, is the 'as quickly as practicable,' which doesn't have a hard target to it. It's more of as things become available, as we understand them, research them and understand them to help guide the actions we take," Glenn said.

"The decarbonization study can help shape that for the 2030 target. In particular, what we saw from Hawaiian Electric is for the emissions they are responsible for, they can reduce that to 70%. But that's only part of the emissions and actually less than half of the energy emissions for the state," he said.

Glenn noted that transportation is a sizable contributor to Hawaiʻi’s emissions.

The proposal passed out of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee on Tuesday. It must also be heard by committees on Finance and Consumer Protection and Commerce.

Jason Ubay is the managing editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Send your story ideas to him at jubay@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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