Climate-Hawaii Halting Coal

Windmills and solar panels are shown in Kahuku, Hawaii. 

(The Center Square) - Hawaii is putting $100 million in a climate impact fund as the state pursues federal and private investments for clean energy, Gov. Josh Green said.

The climate impact fund will go toward preserving the state's natural resources and fighting climate change, according to Green. His office will go after federal and private investments in solar, energy efficiency, and energy storage technologies.

Policy goals include recommitting the state to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan group of governors who plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their state.

"We welcome Hawaii's continued membership in our climate action coalition and are proud to partner with Governor Green, a longtime champion of renewable energy and clean transportation," said Casey Katims, the Executive Director for the U.S. Climate Alliance. "Under the Governor's leadership, we know Hawaii will continue to boldly confront the climate crisis and set an example across the country, throughout the Pacific, and globally."

Green said he is also establishing a Climate Advisory Panel that will work with "climate leaders" on the governor's cabinet. Dawn Lippert, the CEO of Elemental Excelerator and Chris Benjamin, the CEO of Alexander and Baldwin, will chair the panel.

Additionally, Green plans to create a cabinet-level senior climate advisor position tasked with getting state departments on board with climate initiatives and pushing through clean energy policies. The individual would also be responsible for using public and private community interests to make "bold, rapid" changes, the governor said.

It's not known yet who will be taking on the position, but the governor said a small panel of local climate, business, energy and community leaders would help create goals and responsibilities for the new role and support the recruitment of candidates that Green will consider over the next month.

Hawaii is one of the most environmentally friendly states in the nation, according to a report by the personal finance website WalletHub. The state ranks among the top for highest air, water, and soil quality and lowest gasoline consumption per capita.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the amount of public dollars that state and local governments have used to fund green programs has increased by over $5 billion in just four years.

"To rescue what's dear to us, to preserve our way of life, we need bold action," said Green. "Hawaii is poised to lead the globe on clean energy and climate issues — boldly, into the future."