Hawaii could be America’s four-year climate sanity redoubt during the coming Republican dark age.
In the 2016 US presidential election, Hawaii cast the highest percentage statewide vote for Hillary Clinton: 62%.
In so doing, Hawaii edged out California (61.6%), Massachusetts (61%) and New York (59%) — America’s other intellectually forward-looking states.
That leaves it up to Hawaii to offer a beacon of hope — on behalf of the nation — regarding moves toward environmental sustainability in the dark Trump years ahead..
It’s the first time in history Hawaii’s had this responsibility. It’s particularly weighty given the likelihood — at least for the next year or two — Hawaii might host soon-to-be former president Barack Obama as he golfs and hurriedly publishes his memoirs so their release can affect the 2018 mid-term elections.
All this points to a potentially powerful role for Hawaii — if it steps up to the plate — to become America’s de facto poster child for sensible economic and environmental during the coming national alt-right Dark Age.
How? Hawaii can continue to be a global renewable energy leader. In this role, Hawaii can be a haven for friendless intellectual capital as the rest of the country potentially goes backward in the realm of energy sustainability.
Hawaii can do this by staying the course on enlightened environmental policies. The military in Hawaii — which realizes as well as anyone the dangers of endless imported oil dependency — can help the drive toward low emission energy self-sufficiency.
Earlier this year, Hawaii’s Public Utilities Commission rejected the takeover of local electricity monopoly Hawaiian Electric by Florida-based NextEra Energy. NextEra’s low-emission plans for the state only went so far as hookig the state on 20-years of Liquid Natural Gas imports.
Sanity prevailed. The system worked.
Hawaii can now go back to developing more sensible plans to reach 100% renewable-energy production by 2045. What can it do?
It can stay the course and increase the speed (already pretty fast!) at which it’s moving toward being 100% renewable energy powered.
Second, Hawaii might join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). The RGGI is America’s fledgling carbon market centered upon the northeastern states — most of which also voted for Hillary Clinton.
Joining the RGGI would, among other things, attach a real — if currently small — value to Hawaii’s carbon emissions. At present, carbon prices in the fledgling market hover around a laughably low $4 per tonne. This values Hawaii’s 21 million tonnes of carbon emissions at a mere $80 million.
Even so, it establishes a tradable price – and that has value . After 2020, for instance, carbon prices (at least in Europe and possibly, also, China) are expected to rise above $20 per tonne, and possibly $30-40 or more.
Keeping the faith in moving toward its 100% renewable energy target and taking steps to more tangibly value its carbon emissions so it can later trade them are two ways Hawaii can ‘punch above its weight’ over the coming four years.