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What We Do: Climate Change

Climate Change Goal: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and Hawai‘i by 80% in 2050

  • Pass legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts to wildlife
  • Increase public awareness and actions by individuals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Greenland meltdown
Video: Larry J. Schweiger, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation,
discusses the need to address climate change at a melting glacier in Greenland

Climate change and associated global warming, sea level rise, increased storm intensities, ocean acidification, and coral bleaching threaten the entire world and will require cooperation among all people to prevent the worst impacts from happening.

The combined effects of melting ice and thermal expansion of seawater are causing sea level to rise. In our island home, rising seas are of particular concern; sea level is projected to rise 1 meter by the turn of the century.

Our focus in the climate change arena is to help ensure adequate funding to mitigate the impacts of climate change to wildlife and habitat. In Hawai‘i, we face a warming ocean and coral bleaching and increased CO2 and ocean acidification that harms corals.

endangered turtles
Projected sea level rise of 1 m by the end of this century in Hawai‘i it will affect the nesting habitat of our sea turtles.

Makai (toward the sea), with sea level rising, we will begin to lose pupping and resting habitat for endangered ‘īlioholoikauaua (Hawaiian monk seal), nesting and resting habitat for the endangered honu ‘ea (hawksbill sea turtle), threatened honu (green sea turtle), and dozens of species of seabirds, such as the mōlī (Laysan albatross). Mauka (toward the mountains), warming temperatures will allow introduced mosquitoes carrying avian malaria and avian pox to breed at higher elevations, reaching native forest birds already on the brink of extinction. Even the unique wēkiu bug on the summit of Mauna Kea will be affected by climate change.

For more information: Global Warming and Hawai‘i (pdf)

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