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Green looking to jump-start Climate Impact Fund with $100M in state funding

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Hawaii Governor David Y. Ige via Flickr
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Gov. Josh Green has proposed to fight climate change with a Climate Impact Fund, an effort he's already pledged $100 million to jump-start.

"We'll be able to bond from that money is my understanding, usually about a 10 to 1 ratio, so the $100 million is essentially a billion dollars," Green said Tuesday.

That money, he said, could go to a variety of issues, like preserving natural resources and emergencies.

During a briefing Tuesday, Green suggested a $50 visitor impact fee on those ages 12 and up. With an approximation of 8 to 10 million visitors annually, he said that could be an additional $600 million going into the fund.

How and where that’ll be taxed and assessed is still to be determined.

Green said that it wouldn’t surprise him if lawmakers introduced their own legislation that would tax tourists. In that case, Green asked that lawmakers consider putting that money into the Climate Impact Fund.

"I suspect that individuals will move from that idea and look at other ideas that will include fees at places where there's already a big impact," Green said. "And if that happens, if that's your desire, put those monies into this fund, and let it grow."

Green said there are two private and corporate partners willing to seed money into the fund.

"We should accept their resources, because of impact, one of them is an airline. Those monies then can be used, however you see fit as you appropriate into climate programs," Green said. "I think Hawaiʻi should lead on this."

Green plans to share a more detailed plan in two weeks, during his State of the State address.

Earlier this week, Green also recommitted the only Pacific Island member to the U.S. Climate Alliance and the establishment of a Climate Advisory Panel, according to a press release. The alliance is a bipartisan coalition of state governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement.

Sabrina Bodon is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at sbodon@hawaiipublicradio.org or 808-792-8252.
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