The Hawaii Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission needs to step up its game in several areas when it comes to pitching ideas to the Legislature next session.

That was the message Wednesday from a 10-member advisory group, co-led by Rep. Nicole Lowen and Sen. Mike Gabbard, that included state and county planners and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The group recommended the commission broaden its priorities, boost its coordination among government agencies, increase testimony on bills and support legal changes that empower the counties to protect Hawaii’s disappearing beaches.

Anu Hittle, state Climate Commission coordinator, welcomed members to the meeting Wednesday. Nathan Eagle/Civil Beat

The group, which the commission formed in April, discussed legislation that would require disclosure of sea level rise by sellers of real estate, amending the Coastal Zone Management Act to better protect beaches from sea level rise, accelerating the renewable energy targets to reduce carbon emissions, supporting incentives to reduce ground transportation emissions, improving grid resilience and establishing tax rebates for electric vehicles.

Many of the proposals gained little or no traction last session, which ended in May. But the group hopes a more strategic approach next session, which opens in January, may prove more fruitful.

Along with broadening its priority areas beyond sea level rise mitigation and reducing ground transportation emissions, the advisory group recommended the commission encourage its partners and related agencies to use its high-level statements in testimony on the bills in its climate package.

A separate group, created by the commission to make recommendations on climate equity, is expected to share its findings at the commission’s next meeting Sept. 4. The commission acknowledged the importance of considering the impact of climate change mitigation and adaptation on vulnerable people, communities, industries, and ecosystems.

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