Greenhouse Gas Reduction

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in Hawaii is of vital importance.  In order for the United States to lead the world back to a sustainable climate footprint, states like Hawaii must reduce their GHG emissions.

According to Governor Ige’s news release (posted June 6, 2017), Hawaii was the first U.S. State to enact a Law that aligns with the Paris Agreement. In a show of support for the Paris Climate Agreement, Governor David Ige and Hawai‘i’s county mayors and representatives gathered for the signing of two bills and a mayors’ agreement that support the commitments and goals of the Paris climate accord. Hawai‘i is the first state in the nation to enact legislation that implements portions of the Paris agreement. Gov. Ige signed SB 559 (Act 032) which expands strategies and mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide in alignment with the principles and goals adopted in the Paris agreement. The governor also signed HB 1578 (Act 033) which establishes the Carbon Farming Task Force within the Office of Planning to identify practices in agriculture, aquaculture, and agroforestry to improve soil health, increase forest carbon, and promote carbon sequestration – the capture and long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide to mitigate climate change.

“Hawai‘i is committed to environmental stewardship, and we look forward to working with other states to fight global climate change. Together, we can directly contribute to the global agenda of achieving a more resilient and sustainable island Earth,” said Gov. Ige. “The Hawai‘i State Legislature understands the importance of taking action, and I applaud its work this session to ensure that we continue to deliver the island Earth that we want to leave to our children.”

“The measure adopted relevant sections of the Paris agreement as state law, which gives us legal basis to continue adaptation and mitigation strategies for Hawai‘i, despite the Federal government’s withdrawal from the treaty,” said Sen. J. Kalani English, senate majority leader who introduced SB 559.

In addition, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and representatives for Hawai‘i Island Mayor Harry Kim, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa, and Kaua‘i Mayor Bernard Carvalho signed a statement declaring their commitment to continue supporting of the Paris agreement.


Planning for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reduction

The Clean Air Branch (CAB) has been working hard to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) in Hawaii.  In June, 2014 the Hawaii Administrative Rules regarding Clean Air (HAR Chapter 11-60.1) were significantly updated.

In 2015-2016 the Clean Air Branch:

  • Reviewed 20 GHG emissions reduction plans to establish GHG emission caps for the 20 affected sources
  • Provided the 20 affected facilities with the flexibility necessary to achieve reductions in a feasible and cost effective way
  • Ensured minimum GHG cuts are 16% below the established baseline emission level, unless an alternate cap is approved based on the GHG control assessment
  • Required GHG control assessments for facilities that consider the 16% GHG reduction to be unattainable
  • Used actual emissions from 2010 as a baseline year to establish emissions cap unless an alternate baseline year is approved
  • Charged fees for GHGs emissions for the affected facilities holding a covered source permit starting in the second half of 2014 and annually thereafter

Please note that biogenic CO2 emissions are excluded from cap requirements for option to use biofuel to reduce GHGs and that affected facilities may use partnering to meet the GHG emission reduction cap. Also note that the air permit for Shipman Power Plant closed on 12-31-2015.  Therefore, 19 affected facilities remain at the beginning of 2016.

In 2016-2017 the Clean Air Branch:

  • Confirmed completeness of 19 GHG emission reduction plans
  • Contracted a ICF Incorporated, L.L.C. (ICF) for compiling statewide GHG emission inventories from 2017 to 2020
  • Assessed the US EPA State Inventory & Projection Tool to compile emission inventories independently

Please note that the air permit for HC&S Puunene Sugar Mill closed on 12-16-2016.  Therefore, 18 affected facilities remain at the beginning of 2017.

In 2017-2018 the Clean Air Branch will:

Finalize the review of the GHG emission reduction plans once they are deemed complete; emission limits will be incorporated into each affected facility’s permit for the established cap.  Facilities must comply with permit limits for the established caps by January 1, 2020.  Statewide GHG emission inventories from ICF Incorporated, L.L.C. (ICF) will be used to evaluate progress in achieving the statewide GHG emissions limit of 1990 levels by 2020.  ICF is contracted over a three year period to provide statewide GHG emission inventories, three annual reports, and an assessment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) State Inventory & Projection Tool for the CAB to compile emission inventories independently.  Further reductions are required if data from emission inventories show the statewide GHG limit will not be met. GHG emission caps will not apply if emission inventories show the statewide limit is met prior to 2020 and projections indicate ongoing maintenance of the limit. The initial annual report from ICF is expected early in 2018 and will be reviewed by CAB and other state agencies prior to finalizing.  This annual report will include a new 2015 statewide GHG inventory, updated 1990, 2007, and 2010 prior statewide GHG inventories, and statewide GHG projections for 2020 and 2025.

From 2015-2019 the Clean Air Branch will ensure compliance with Federal GHG regulation.  CAB will: 

  • Work with other Hawaii State agencies to prepare a state plan for reducing carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs) under 111(d) of the Clean Air Act for the Clean Power Plan (CPP) if applicable.
  • Revise the appropriate HAR to align with federal guidance for permitting Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Title V sources, in line with the Tailoring rule.

The 111(d) Rule for the CPP applies best system of emission reduction (BSER) for reducing carbon pollution from EGUs.  In the final 111(d) Rule, issued on August 3, 2015, EPA defers requirements for two non-contiguous states (Alaska and Hawaii) and two U.S. territories (Guam and Puerto Rico) until emission performance rates are established for these regions.  Please note that on February 9, 2016 the Supreme Court issued a stay of the CPP. Also note that a Supreme Court ruling has invalidated a portion of the Tailoring Rule for regulating GHGs.


Relevant Documents



Environmental Planning Office
919 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 312
Honolulu, HI 96814
Phone: (808) 586-4337

Last update: 10/20/2017