Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

By 2030, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with state and global targets.
On June 5, 2017, Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to enact legislation (Act 32) aligning with the Paris Agreement, which for the first time commits all countries – developed and developing – to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous gas, fluorinated gases) and adapt to already occurring impacts of climate change. This includes catalyzing investments in clean energy as well as aiding adaptation efforts in vulnerable communities.  The Paris Agreement establishes an overarching goal to limit global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It outlines immediate action to reduce emissions beginning in 2020 with re-evaluation of targets every five years to ensure long term progress, and achieve net zero emissions by 2045. The Paris Agreement also includes a financial commitment to mobilize significant public and private sector resources - approaching $100 billion per year by 2020 - to help developing countries get on a clean energy path and to address the high-costs of addressing climate impacts.
The Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard tracks Hawai‘i’s commitment to meet state and global climate priorities to significantly reduce GHG emissions by sector and per capita. Specifically, Hawaiʻi will track efforts to achieve the U.S. commitment to reduce emissions by 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, in accordance with the near-term milestone to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Beyond 2025, the Aloha+ Challenge Dashboard will use 2030 data as an important near-term milestone towards the 2045 commitment. The Hawaiʻi Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission co-chaired by the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Office of Planning will provide additional guidance on mitigation and resilience strategies and help further refine Hawaii’s emissions-reduction target.
Hawai‘i is committed to mitigating emissions and getting on a clean energy pathway by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Utilities and transportation (ground, air, and marine) currently account for the majority of emissions in Hawai‘i. Renewable energy, application of efficiency standards, transportation strategies, and carbon sequestration are part of a comprehensive approach to curb emissions across sectors and meet state and global energy and climate targets.
Additionally, the Aloha+ Dashboard tracks Hawaiʻi’s 2007 commitment (Act 234) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 greenhouse gas levels (13.66 million metric tons per year of carbon dioxide) by 2020 in the Clean Energy target. This level of reduction in carbon dioxide emissions was achieved in 2013 and remains on track with continued reduction to 2020. 
Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Fossil Fuel Consumption
Greenhouse gas emissions, including methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases, and carbon dioxide all contribute to climate change. Yet carbon dioxide is the primary gas emitted as a result of human activity. Carbon dioxide accounted for 82% of total U.S. GHG emissions from human activity in 2015, followed closely by methane. The primary source of carbon dioxide is the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil) for electricity, transportation, commercial, and industry sectors. In addition, carbon dioxide can also be emitted as a result of changes to agriculture, forestry, and other industrial land use, such as deforestation (US Environmental Protection Agency).
The following chart tracks carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel consumption, and is currently used as a proxy to measure overall GHG emission reduction in Hawai‘i.
Figure 1: The above bar graph illustrates the total annual carbon dioxide emissions across the state provided by the US Energy Information Administration. Note: While carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to emissions in Hawai’i, other emission types contribute to the total greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, carbon dioxide emissions dipped from 24.1 million metric tons to 19.4 million metric tons due to the economic recession. (Source: US Energy Information Administration)
Reduction in GHG Emissions (Relative to 1990 Baseline)
Figure 2: The above bar graphs illustrates annual greenhouse gas emissions across the state provided by the Department of Health. Note: Annual data is not tracked for total emissions and the above data reflects emissions from stationary sources in the power sector. (Source: Department of Health)
Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Sector
Reducing emissions in the power sector, which accounts for the majority of Hawai‘i’s emissions, will require significant investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Overall emissions statewide are decreasing, however, emissions in both the electric sector and transportation sector increased between 1990 and 2007 (DBEDT). Within transportation, emissions in the aviation sector decreased, while emissions in both ground and marine transportation increased. The reduction in emissions in the aviation sector is likely due to efficiency improvements including through new aircraft and technology. According to research commissioned by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, additional emission reductions from aircrafts in the range of 25-35% are feasible by 2030 through improvements to engines, propulsion and airframes. However, further reductions in this sector will likely require using alternative fuel such as biofuels.


Figure 3: The bar graph illustrates greenhouse gas emissions in millions of metric tons for 1990 and 2007 provided through reports by DBEDT and UHERO as expressed by sector for energy sources. 
Source: Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, UHERO

Figure 4: The above bar graph illustrates carbon emissions data in millions of metrics tons for 1990 and 2007 provided through reports by DBEDT and UHERO as expressed by sector for non-energy sources. 
Source: Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, UHERO


Figure 5: The pie chart illustrates the proportion of sector contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions for 1990 from all sources as reported by DBEDT and UHERO.
Source: Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, UHERO




Figure 6: The pie chart illustrates the proportion of sector contribution to total greenhouse gas emissions for 2007 from all sources as reported by DBEDT and UHERO.
Source: Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, UHERO
Figure 7: The above bar graph illustrates the annual carbon dioxide emissions across the state by sector provided by the US Energy Information Administration. Note that while carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to emissions in Hawai’i, other GHG emissions contribute to the climate change and will be tracked in future reports. Reports tracking comprehensive GHG emission levels for 2010 and 2015 are anticipated. (Source: US Energy Information Administration)
Greenhouse Gas Emissions per Capita
According to World Bank data, Hawai’i outpaces several major economies in carbon emissions on a per capita basis with more than four times the amount as China and twenty times the amount of India. This reflects the significance and importance of Hawai’i residents’ contribution toward mitigating global emissions through investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Figure 8 & 9: The bar graphs above illustrate the total metric tons of greenhouse gas emitted by the state of Hawaii per capita from all sources for 1990 and 2005, as well as emissions omitting air transport and international marine transport for 1990 and 2005. (Source: Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, University of Hawai’i Economic Research Organization (UHERO))
Figure 10: The above bar graph illustrates the total annual carbon dioxide emissions per capita across the state provided by the US Energy Information Administration. Please note that while carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to emissions in Hawai’i, other emission types contribute to the total greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: US Energy Information Administration)
Carbon Sequestration
Significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require major shifts in energy consumption and production. As a parallel strategy, it is possible to offset increases in GHG emissions by through agricultural practices, including increasing soil health, and reforestation. Carbon sequestration through market-based mechanisms can complement mitigation efforts. The Paris Agreement identifies conserving and enhancing carbon sinks as a key action to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Natural carbon sinks include the ocean, forests, and soil, and play important role in carbon storage.
For example, Hawai‘i’s unique native forests and wetlands provide an opportunity to sequester carbon dioxide and absorb it from the atmosphere. The state’s forest inventory shows that Hawai‘i Island currently stores the largest amount of carbon, while Kaua‘i Island has the highest carbon density. According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, lands under state jurisdiction have the potential to sequester more than 4 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through reforestation projects. Other landowners have expressed interest in sequestering carbon by investing in projects that align with voluntary and compliance based carbon markets for selling carbon credits.
In addition, Hawai‘i’s tourism industry hosts over 8 million visitors per year who contribute to the overall emissions for the state. There is an opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint of the tourism sector by investing in green industries and creating market-based tools to generate revenue through carbon offsets. In some destinations, partnerships between the tourism industry and landowners have generated additional revenue through voluntary carbon offsets and incorporated fees applied by tourism operators, which in turn support conservation efforts.
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End poverty in all its forms everywhere
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Reduce inequality within and among countries
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