Mitigation and Adaptation: Hawai’i Plans for Climate Change

Because we should have started decades ago to minimize climate change by cutting the amount of carbon spewing into the atmosphere, we have to both  mitigate further climate change by slowing carbon emissions through alternative energy sources and adapt to the effects that are already here–decreasing rainfall (up to 30% in coming decades), the decline of healthy reefs and fewer fish, and predicted loss of oceanfront property to rising seas. In a recent cover story in the Honolulu Weekly  Joan Conrow lays out both the threats to our islands and the planning the state of Hawai‘i  is doing on both fronts.

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Richard Wallsgrove studied fresh-water management for a year and produced a white paper laying out some solutions to dwindling supplies such as greater efficiency and a rise in rates to decrease consumption. Although some officials express concernabout the costs of both kinds of responses to warming, Wallsgrove discounted that worry, calling it shortsighted. “The concept that we can’t afford to handle climate change is so myopic it blows my mind,” he told the Weekly. “You can’t afford not to.”

 

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