Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force
HB 2182 was signed into law as Hawaii Revised Statutes § 225P-4 (Act 15, Session Laws of Hawaii (SLH) 2018 (“Act 15”)) by Governor David Ige in 2018 at the conclusion of the Twenty-Ninth Regular Session of the Hawaii State Legislature. Act 15’s purpose is to establish a permanent Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force within the Office of Planning (“OP”) to:
- Repeal Act 33, SLH 2017 (“Act 33”), which established the Carbon Farming Task Force, even though the Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force and the Carbon Farming Task Force (collectively, “Task Force”) have the similar aims;
- Align the State’s clean energy and carbon sequestration efforts with climate initiative goals, and require that a member of the Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force also be a member of the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission; and
- Expand the mission of the Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force by requiring that the Task Force examine opportunities to exploit carbon sequestering trees and vegetation to reduce urban temperatures and thereby protect public health.
The Task Force will work to:
- Establish a baseline for greenhouse gas emissions within Hawaii and short- and long-term benchmarks for increasing greenhouse gas sequestration in the State’s agricultural and natural environment;
- Identify appropriate criteria to measure baseline levels and increases in greenhouse gas sequestration, improvements in soil health, increases in agricultural and aquacultural product yield and quality attributable to greenhouse gas sequestration and improvements in soil health, and other key indicators of greenhouse gas benefits from beneficial agricultural and aquacultural practices that may be used to create a certification program for promoting agricultural and aquacultural practices that generate greenhouse gas benefits and agricultural and aquacultural production benefits;
- Identify land and marine use policies, agricultural policies, agroforestry policies, and mitigation options that would encourage agricultural and aquacultural practices and land use practices that would promote increased greenhouse gas sequestration, build healthy soils, and provide greenhouse gas benefits;
- Identify ways to increase the generation and use of compost in Hawaii to build healthy soils;
- Identify practices and policies that add trees or vegetation to expand the urban tree canopy in urban areas to reduce ambient temperatures, increase climate resiliency, and improve greenhouse gas sequestration in Hawaii;
- Make recommendations to the legislature and governor regarding measures that would increase climate resiliency, build healthy soils, provide greenhouse gas benefits, or cool urban areas;
- Develop incentives and funding mechanisms for these incentives, including but not limited to;
- Loans, tax credits, or grants;
- Technical assistance; or
- Educational materials and outreach,
participate in agricultural activities, aquacultural activities, or on-farm demonstration projects that are identified and approved by the task force as those that would promote greenhouse gas benefits, build healthy soils, sequester carbon, increase water-holding capacity, and increase crop yields; and
- Provide research, education, and technical support for agricultural activities and aquacultural activities identified by the Task Force.
The Task Force is a step towards meeting Governor Ige’s Hawaii Sustainability Initiatives and achieving Hawaii’s statewide commitment to integrated sustainability goals by 2030 for clean energy, local food, natural resource management, solid waste, smart sustainable communities, and green education and workforce.
Pursuant to Act 15, the Task Force is comprised of 19 members and the Director of OP will serve as its chair. Task Force members may recommend to the Task Force additional members with appropriate specialized expertise, subject to approval by the chair.
The Task Force will submit a draft report of its findings and recommendations to the Hawaii State Legislature and the Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission the no later than twenty (20) days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2023 and will submit a final report no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the regular session of 2025.