Get smarter, faster. Subscribe to our daily newsletter.
Hawaii pledges to become carbon neutral by 2045
Hawaii continues its history of progressive climate policy by pledging to become carbon neutral by 2045, a move that would make it the first such state in the country.
Hawaii Governor David Ige signed a bill on Monday that puts the state on track to become carbon neutral by 2045. It would be the first U.S. state to do so.
“We’re on the forefront of climate change impacts,” said Scott Glenn, who leads the state’s environmental quality office. “We experience it directly and we’re a small island. People feel the trade wind days becoming less. They notice the changes in rain. They feel it getting hotter. Because we are directly exposed to this, there’s no denying it,” he said, adding that state lawmakers are “unified in acknowledging that climate change is real and that we do need to do something about it.”
Hawaii has led the nation on climate policy in recent years. The state was the first to adopt the Paris Agreement goals as state policy after the U.S. exited the accord last year. In 2015, the state passed a law pledging to move to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2045.
The state’s climate policies are part economics.
“This isn’t just about getting off of fossil fuels. It’s as much about that as is saving money for the average consumer here in a place where we expend millions of dollars importing fossil fuels every year and the faster we can get off of that, the faster we can save money and boost our economy,” said State Rep. Chris Lee, D-Kailua-Waimanalo.
The Hawaiian islands. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
Ige also signed two other bills on Monday that will help Hawaii achieve its climate goals.
One creates a carbon offset program that will restore forests by planting trees. The second will require developers to conduct a sea-level rise analysis in environmental impact statements before building. The governor said that’s “just plain common sense,” considering high sea levels threaten to cause $19 billion in economic losses to homes, beaches, and roadways along the state’s shorelines.
“This bill to go carbon neutral by 2045 will tie together these efforts—clean energy and emissions reductions—into one that focuses on decarbonising our economy and restoring our native habitat through carbon offsets to do reforestation and carbon farming,” Ige wrote on his Facebook page.
Hawaii Governor David Ige speaks at a community meeting in the aftermath of eruptions from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island on May 7, 2018 in Pahoa, Hawaii. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
U.S. Climate Alliance executive director, Julie Cerqueira, said Hawaii serves as a role model for the rest of the world.
“As we try as a global community to stay within two or one-and-a-half degree temperature rise, going carbon neutral is something that is absolutely essential and so, if Hawai’i can be one of the first to figure out how to do that, what that pathway is, it can really help to inform, not only other states but other cities, national governments as to how they can be champions and leaders in this area as well.”
The status carbon neutral means an area doesn’t release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it absorbs, a balance typically achieved through offset measures like planting trees. So far, the South Asia country of Bhutan is the only nation to have achieved carbon neutrality, though countries like Iceland, Costa Rica, Norway, Sweden, and New Zealand have pledged to do so.
Hawaii is well on its way to joining them. The state currently has the ninth smallest carbon emissions level in the U.S., according to the Energy Information Administration.
Ige seemed optimistic about the legislation.
“We see tremendous potential for restoration, protection and management of forest areas in Hawaii to offer cost-efficient climate change mitigation,” the governor said. “That’s why this framework for capturing carbon through reforestation and carbon farming is an important step forward.”
What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Researchers dramatically improve the accuracy of a number that connects fundamental forces.
- A team of physicists carried out experiments to determine the precise value of the fine-structure constant.
- This pure number describes the strength of the electromagnetic forces between elementary particles.
- The scientists improved the accuracy of this measurement by 2.5 times.
The process for measuring the fine-structure constant involved a beam of light from a laser that caused an atom to recoil. The red and blue colors indicate the light wave's peaks and troughs, respectively.
Scientists at Washington University are patenting a new electrolyzer designed for frigid Martian water.
- Mars explorers will need more oxygen and hydrogen than they can carry to the Red Planet.
- Martian water may be able to provide these elements, but it is extremely salty water.
- The new method can pull oxygen and hydrogen for breathing and fuel from Martian brine.