Sen. Schatz takes leadership role addressing climate change

Sen. Brian Schatz held a town hall meeting on July 2 with about 50 people in Kahului where he talked about his recent work and issues of vital concern to Maui. I want to thank him for his leadership, especially on energy, environmental and sustainability issues.

Among the topics addressed were affordable housing, out-of-control tourism and climate change. He had the courage to say that the annual visitation rate of tourists to Hawaii is 2 million over the ideal, which has adverse impacts on Maui’s fragile coral reefs and marine life.

As erosion and pollution impairment continue on west side beaches, tourists will increasingly flock to less damaged sites, adding stress to our marine resources. And almost all tourists drive oil-based cars, SUVs, trucks and minivans, making our renewable energy and climate change mitigation goals more challenging to meet.

I thus also applaud Schatz’s leadership on climate change, as he chairs the Senate Special Committee on the Climate Crisis. He is addressing this urgent problem in a bipartisan way and championing his own bill, S.1128, The American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act, though it is not expected to pass before 2021.

In the meantime, I am very pleased to be a member of the Maui Chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby and we are actively supporting House Bill HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act. We hope that Congress can pass a strong bill to address climate change this year. Please join us by contacting mauicclnow@gmail.com.

Barry D. Solomon