HONOLULU — Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has directed city departments and agencies to prepare for the effects of climate change and sea level rise.
The mayor issued the mandate Monday requiring the departments and agencies under his jurisdiction to view climate change as an urgent matter and to take action to protect and prepare the city for the physical and economic effects of it, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .
Under the directive, city managers must propose revisions to shoreline development rules and construction standards. It also calls for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and for infrastructure and key facilities to be elevated or moved.
“If we’re going to thrive as a community, whether it be the city and county of Honolulu or any other city on this planet, action needs to be taken now,” Caldwell said. “The science is irrefutable. And we must adjust.”
The directive is in response to a city Climate Change Commission brief prepared from a state report on climate change and sea level rise. The report projects coastal flooding, erosion and property damage affecting hundreds of businesses and public buildings. It also estimates that 13,300 residents could be displaced by midcentury.
The report predicts flooding from rising sea levels of more than 3 feet (1 meter) by midcentury and about 6 feet (2 meters) by the end of the century.
“It is the issue of our time, bar none,” Caldwell said. “Things are changing. We can sit on the sidelines and report it, talk about it and commiserate or we can take action.”