NEW & NOTEWORTHY: Clean Energy, NARS, Fundraiser

posted in: July 2015, New & Noteworthy | 0

800px-Ride_and_Drive_EVs_Plug'n_Drive_OntarioMoving Targets: Four years ago, the Hawai`i Clean Energy Initiative issued a “road map” identifying strategies for reducing the use of fossil fuels in the transportation sector. So how is that working out?

Last month, the state released a draft report on progress toward those goals. And the news isn’t very good.

The road map had a target of reducing vehicle miles traveled in 2015 a modest 2 percent from miles traveled in 2010. Instead, there was a 14 percent increase in the 12 months covered in the report (spanning 2014 and 2015).

In 2010, 496 million gallons of fuel were consumed by cars and trucks in Hawai`i. The road map had no interim target for 2015, but it’s pretty safe to say that the 5 percent increase in fuel consumption see in 2014 is not the direction the Clean Energy Initiative had in mind.

The goal was to have 4,000 electric vehicles sold in 2015, with 10,000 on the road by 2015. Instead, sales of EVs amounted to just 1,000 in the last year, with only 3,400 on the road.

Improved vehicle efficiency was another target, and this was one that Hawai`i managed to achieve, and then some. The 2015 target was 25 miles per gallon for cars and 18 mpg for light trucks, and instead the average mileage for 2014-2015 was 30 mpg for cars and 23 for light trucks, rates that actually exceed the road map’s target for 2020.

The report is available online. Go to: http://www.hawaiicleanenergyinitiative.org. Click on the link to “charettes” and select “transportation.” That will take you to the page that links to the draft report.

NARS Hit is Official: As Environment Hawai`i reported last month, one of the most significant environmental bills of the 2015 legislative session was Senate Bill 1299. As passed by the Senate and House, the bill brings to a halt the distribution of 25 percent of revenue from the conveyance tax, on sales of real property, to support the state’s Natural Area Reserve Systems, its watershed partnerships, and its natural area partnership and forest stewardship partnership programs.

Governor David Ige signed the measure into law on June 5.

Now, instead of having a dedicated, year-to-year source of funding for these programs, vital to protecting Hawai`i’s long-term environmental health as well as both the quality and quantity of its fresh-water sources, advocates for these programs will have to compete annually at the Legislature for the resources needed to carry them out.

This year, after excising these programs from the conveyance tax, the Legislature awarded $7.5 million a year for the next two years to manage the 124,000 acres in the state’s Natural Area Resources and even more in its watershed management areas; $2.8 million a year for natural area partnerships, forest stewardship partnerships, and management of the state’s 580,000 acres of forest reserve lands; and $3.4 million a year for the department’s programs to protect endangered species and fight fires.

Save the Date: Environment Hawai`i is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a dinner on August 14. Our special guest speaker will be Chip Fletcher, who will be speaking on “The Climate Crisis: A Review and Update.”

The event, including a silent auction, live music, and cash bar, will be held at the `Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $65, which includes a $20 tax-deductible donation to Environment Hawai`i.

To reserve your seat, call 808 934-0115 or email ptummons@gmail.com.

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