This page provides an overview of the steps Hawaii is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

On June 9, 2014, Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie established an interagency climate adaptation committee charged with developing a sea-level rise vulnerability and adaptation report addressing statewide impacts through 2050 (House Bill 1714; now Act 83). The committee is required to issue a report that will be available to the public before the end of 2017. Act 83 also authorizes the Office of Planning to coordinate the development of climate adaptation plans and policy recommendations, and to use the committee's report as a framework for addressing other climate threats and climate change adaptation priorities. On November 1, 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Governor Neil Abercrombie to serve on the President’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.

In July 2012, the Hawaii legislature passed S.B. 2745/H.B. 2483, Climate Change Adaptation Priority Guidelines, which will integrate climate adaptation into the current statewide planning system. The guidelines were developed through collaboration between county, state and federal agencies, as well as businesses, community and native Hawaiian organizations.

In 2009, Act 20 created a climate change task force under the Office of Planning to address climate change adaptation.  The Act 20 task force was not funded and did not convene. By operation of law, the Act 20 task force ceased to exist on June 30, 2011. Despite this, the Office of Planning is the lead agency of the Coastal Zone Management Program and leads the coordination of climate change adaptation policy for Hawaii. 

Local adaptation planning is also underway in Hawaii. A partnership between the County of Maui, County of Hawaii, and the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program led to the preparation of an adaptation planning report, Facing Our Future: Adaptive Planning for Sea Level Rise in Maui and Hawaii Counties, published in 2012. The report includes recommendations intended to provide a foundation for improving local shoreline planning for coastal hazards including sea-level rise.

Hawaii's statewide adaptation planning is in progress.  Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed by the state and localities to help communities prepare for climate change, are highlighted below.

(Research last updated June 30, 2014.)

The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress of states in implementing their adaptation plans, is supported by the MacArthur Foundation. 


State Law and Policy

Resource Name Resource Type Date
HI SB 559: Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission Law and Governance June 1, 2017
Hawaii HB 444 - An Act Relating to Beach Protection: Transient Accommodations Tax; Special Land and Development Fun; Appropriation” Law and Governance July 1, 2015
Hawaii Climate Adaptation Initiative Act (HB 1714, Act 83) Law and Governance June 9, 2014
Hawaii Act 286 - Climate Change Adaptation Priority Guidelines (HI SB 2745/HB 2483) Law and Governance July 9, 2012
Hawaii Act 73: Environmental response, energy and food security tax Law and Governance April 29, 2010

State Agency Plans

Resource Name Sector(s) Covered Date
Hawaii Ocean Resources Management Plan Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Land management and conservation, Oceans July 2013

Local and Regional Plans

Resource Name Date
Kaua’i Shoreline Setback Ordinance (No. 979, Bill 2461, 2014) December 5, 2014
Facing Our Future: Adaptive Planning for Sea Level Rise in Maui and Hawaii Counties July 2012

More Featured Resources

Resource Name Resource Category Date
Hawaiian Islands Climate Vulnerability and Adaptation Synthesis Assessments January 28, 2018
2015 Preliminary Report and Recommendations from the Hawaii Climate Change and Health Working Group Planning December 2015
Climate Change and the Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts Assessments December 2012
A Framework for Climate Change Adaptation in Hawaii Planning November 2009
Shoreline Impacts, Setback Policy and Sea Level Rise - Hawaii Law and Governance April 2009

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