Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell testifies at Senate Democrats first hearing on the "climate crisis"

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Honolulu, HI Mayor Kirk Caldwell is in Washington this week to discuss climate change, or as he calls it, the “climate crisis.” Caldwell testified in front of the new Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis Wednesday to discuss how he is trying to make Honolulu a greener place. It could take a federal helping hand to achieve his goals.

Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) says he is hoping to use these hearings to come up with policies that Congress can come up with at the federal level. (Source: Gray DC)

“It’s the issue of our time,” said Caldwell in his opening statement.

Caldwell says his city is on the front lines of addressing this issue, because, he says, being completely surrounded by water forces the issue.

“There’s major impact being felt in all of our communities. It’s becoming an emergency,” said Caldwell.

Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), chairman of the Climate Crisis Committee, invited Caldwell to testify about how his city is going green. The mayor cited all ground transportation using renewable energy by the year 2045, installing 53,000 LED streetlights, 18% of residents using solar panels on their homes, and more.

“We can monitor what we’re doing and see if it works or not in a very closed environment which I think is helpful for the rest of the world,” said Caldwell.

Schatz says after hearing from leaders like Caldwell he wants this committee to come up with sweeping action plans.

“The scale of this problem doesn’t allow us to do half measures,” said Schatz.

Without Republicans involved in this discussion, the big question is what comes of these green policy proposals? A conservative environmental expert, Nick Loris from the Heritage Foundation says not much.

“It’s going to be tough to accomplish much in terms of legislative action if you’re doing this alone,” said Loris.

Loris says he thinks Republicans are not in this conversation because Democrats will not budge on their climate priorities. He says taking federal action on climate change will require both parties meeting in the middle.

“Any type of policy reform that the Republicans offer it seems to fall on deaf ears among the Democrats because they’re not strong enough and that’s a shame because I think there are a lot of good common sense policies out there,” said Loris.

Schatz says the committee’s next hearing will include a group of Republicans who support climate action.

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