Hawaii has become the first American state to pass environmental measures that adhere to the Paris climate agreement, just days after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the international pact.
“Truly, in this day and age, it is time for states and governors to lead,” Hawaiian Gov. David Ige (D) said at a press conference on Tuesday, ahead of signing the two bills into law.
Senate Bill 559 and House Bill 1578 commit to expanding methods to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the state. They also target agricultural practices with the goals of improving soil health and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
“Hawaii’s natural environment is under threat,” Ige said. “Climate change is real, regardless of what others say. Hawaii is seeing the impacts, first hand.”
Sen. J. Kalani English (D), who introduced SB 559, recognized it as a “legal basis to continue adaption and mitigation strategies” for the state, “despite the federal government’s withdrawal from the treaty,” according to ABC News.
The bills’ signage came with the support of four Hawaiian county mayors, who have joined hundreds of other mayors across the U.S. in signing a commitment agreement.
“We will intensify efforts to meet each of our cities’ current climate goals, push for new action to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, and work together to create a 21st century clean energy economy,” declared the mayors, who referred to themselves as “Climate Leaders” in a statement following Trump’s decision to withdraw from the pact on Thursday.