Pass Build Back Better. As A State We Can Only Do So Much On Our Own - Honolulu Civil Beat

About the Author

Roy Takumi

Roy Takumi represents the 35th district (Pearl City to Manana to Waipio) in the Hawaii House of Representatives.

Opinion article badgeWith the recent passage of the Build Back America Act in the U.S. House, the Senate must pass this landmark legislation with all deliberate speed.

After all, as a state we can only do so much on our own. We need to work in partnership with the federal government to help our state reach its climate goals in resiliency and mitigation.

Hawaii was dealt a huge economic blow by the pandemic as we shut down. Tourism was reduced to a trickle.  But the pandemic also gives us the opportunity to reimagine our economy and lessen our dependence on tourism. This is where the BBBA comes in.

BBBA would be the largest ever single investment in our clean energy economy — across buildings, transportation, industry, electricity, agriculture. It would also allow us to implement climate smart practices in our lands and waters.

In Hawaii, the BBBA’s Civilian Climate Corps would enlist a diverse generation with good-paying union jobs in conserving our public lands, bolstering community resilience and addressing the changing climate.

The BBBA incentives also would make solar rooftop systems and electric vehicles more affordable for families in Hawaii. In essence, the measure would cut carbon pollution, deliver action on environmental justice and reduce energy bills for working families throughout Hawaii.

The legislation includes more than $550 billion for climate action and would put our country on a path to dramatically cut the pollution driving climate change, while building a just and equitable clean energy economy.

Park visitors enjoy climbing on what is left of Coconut Tree stumps after salt water and ocean water eroded and killed the trees at Kualoa Beach Park.
Park visitors enjoy climbing on what is left of Coconut Tree stumps after salt water and ocean water eroded and killed the trees at Kualoa Beach Park. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

The investments included in the BBBA would set us on a path to a 50-52% reduction in carbon pollution by 2030. That’s the same goal scientists say is necessary to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

As a veteran I’m aware that the climate crisis drives conflict and instability around the world. I don’t want to see deployments that result from wars born from climate change events. Instead, we need to wage the war on climate change itself.

Allied countries became united in WWII and mobilized resources to meet impossible and improbable tasks — we can do it again. The beginnings of this took root at the COP26 climate talks in Scotland last month as nations came together. The Senate needs to pass the BBBA to show that the United States can lead this effort worldwide.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to confront the climate crisis, create good-paying clean energy and conservation jobs and to address environmental injustices. We’ve done insurmountable tasks before — we can build back America better again. Let’s do it.

Rep. Roy Takumi is a member of Elected Officials to Protect America, a network of current and former elected officials who care deeply about protecting our planet and people. EOPA is committed to solving the climate crisis, ensuring environmental justice, and protecting our lands and waters.

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About the Author

Roy Takumi

Roy Takumi represents the 35th district (Pearl City to Manana to Waipio) in the Hawaii House of Representatives.

Latest Comments (0)

Right now, we are in the middle of a three-day "Kona low" weather. Although it's only 3 pm, the skies are very dark, Honolulu is shrouded in thick fog, and my friend is telling me that his solar panels are producing virtually no power (a mere 45 watts vs the 3 kW or so that he'd normally be expecting at this time of the day in December). Most of the day was like this; ditto yesterday. There is not a breath of wind, either, and the weather forecast says there's not going to be any wind for another 36 hours. HECO planners are proposing to equip Oahu with 4 hours' worth of battery storage. What is our plan for "Kona" days?

Chiquita · 1 year ago

Hawaii has the 4th highest median household income and the 18th highest per capita income in the United States. How can we explain to the residents of other states that they should transfer some of their wealth to us via federal income taxes, and not the other way around?

Chiquita · 1 year ago

all government money at all levels is our money. we can't do it alone because we don't fund maintenance funding for all we create in government. all the flaws are our own making so we should be able to fix them ourselves.

dork · 1 year ago

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