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Hawaii becomes first state to enact legislation aligning with Paris Agreement

Michele Falzone | AWL Images | Getty Images

Hawaii Gov. David Ige has signed legislation supporting the Paris Agreement, making his state the first to enact measures to implement parts of the international accord to combat climate change.

On June 1, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement and start talks to re-enter or renegotiate a new accord. "This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States," he said at the time.

The bills signed Tuesday in Hawaii were SB 559 (Act 032) and HB 1578 (Act 033). The governor's office said that SB 559 expanded "strategies and mechanisms" to cut greenhouse gas emissions across the state "in alignment with the principles and goals adopted" in the Paris Agreement. HB 1578 establishes a Carbon Farming Task Force.

"Hawaii is committed to environmental stewardship, and we look forward to working with other states to fight global climate change," Ige said in a statement. "Together, we can directly contribute to the global agenda of achieving a more resilient and sustainable island Earth."

The state Senate majority leader who introduced SB 559 welcomed its signing. "The measure adopted relevant sections of the Paris Agreement as state law, which gives us legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies for Hawaii, despite the Federal government's withdrawal from the treaty," Sen. J. Kalani English said.

Hawaii recently joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group committed to upholding the Paris Agreement, which was signed by nearly 200 nations after years of talks. Other state members include Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, New York, Washington and California.