English attends climate change event

Maui state Sen. J. Kalani English was one of several Hawaii policymakers who attended the “Waves of Change” conference on Oahu that focuses on the environmental, social, cultural, political, economic and legal impacts of climate change on Pacific Islands, including Hawaii.

“Due to the changing climate, there is potential for increased migration from the Pacific Islands to the state,” said English, chairman of the state Senate Committee on Transportation and International Affairs. “Islanders believe Hawaii is able to provide them the economic security and welfare they need, which has become challenging to achieve because of how climate change is impacting their home.”

The Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment report released in December warns that Hawaii and other Pacific Islands have experienced “higher average surface air temperature, decreased groundwater discharge to streams over the past century, more frequent and prolonged drought and habitat changes affecting native species” as a result of climate change.

“It is important that we become aware of these major shifts in our environment so that we can address the issues and take action to reduce the impact of climate change today for the future generations,” said English, who represents East and Upcountry Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

The conference that began Thursday ended Saturday at the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s East-West Center and Kamakakuokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies.

The policymakers were joined by natural scientists, university students and community members at the event.