About the Commission

The Climate Change Commission consists of five members with expertise in climate change in Hawai‘i. The Climate Change Commission was created after O‘ahu voters approved an amendment to the City Charter in the 2016 general election that also mandated the creation of the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. The role of the Climate Change Commission is to gather the latest science and information on climate change impacts to Hawai‘i and provide advice and recommendations to the mayor, City Council, and executive departments as they look to draft policy and engage in planning for future climate scenarios.

Commission Members

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Makena Coffman, PH.D., Chair

Leading Hawai‘i authority on greenhouse gas and energy policy.

Makena Coffman is the Director for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Institute for Sustainability and Resilience. She is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning and teaches graduate courses in climate change and low carbon cities. Her research interests include greenhouse gas mitigation, energy policy and alternative transportation strategies. Dr. Coffman is a Research Fellow with the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization, holds a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

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Charles (Chip) Fletcher, Ph.D., Vice cHAIR

Proponent of climate change education, environmental conservation, and community resilience.

Dr. Fletcher is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, at the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses emphasizing earth science, climate change, coastal community resiliency paleoclimatology, and sedimentology. He has been principle advisor in awarding over 25 graduate degrees, and has received a number of teaching and community service awards.

Dr. Fletcher’s research focuses on Pacific paleo-sea level history, beach processes, and modeling the impacts of past, present and future sea level rise on island environments and communities. The results of his work are used by government agencies for administering coastal policy, establishing construction guidelines, and planning resilient infrastructure projects. Data produced by his research team is used by Kaua‘i and Maui Counties in their setback ordinance, and is considered in permit decisions by the City & County of Honolulu and the Hawai‘i State Department of Land and Natural Resources. 

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Rosanna ‘Anolani Alegado, Ph.D.

A kanaka ʻōiwi scholar working directly with grass-roots communities to integrate conventional and indigenous perspectives on science. 

Dr. Alegado’s lab investigates the role of microbes across spatial and temporal scales. By bringing together microbial ecologists, biogeochemists her group examines the influence of microbial communities on coastal ocean processes, especially in light of a changing climate. A recent project in her lab involves using indigenous historical records to reconstruct Hawaiian regional climate beyond conventional instrument records in collaboration with the International Pacific Research Center and Puakea Nogelmeier at the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.

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Victoria Keener, Ph.D.

Interdisciplinary scientist working with island communities to transform climate research into resource management.

Dr. Keener is a Research Fellow at the East-West Center and is also the Lead Principal Investigator of the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments (Pacific RISA) program, and earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural & Biological Engineering from the University of Florida, specializing in hydro-climatological research dealing with the effects of climate variability. Dr. Keener coordinates an interdisciplinary team of social and physical scientists that aims to reduce Pacific Island communities vulnerability to climate change by translating academic research into actionable knowledge for a variety of stakeholders at the local, state, and regional level—especially regarding the management of fresh water resources. She is the Lead Editor and a Chapter Author for the 2012 Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) report and the lead author of the Pacific Islands Chapter of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment.

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Bettina Mehnert, FAIA, LEED AP O+M

Green building design leader and community-driven business leader. 

A sustainability-focused community business leader, Ms. Mehnert, president and CEO of AHL, has multiple leadership roles nationally with the Urban Land Institute and locally with Hawaiʻi Green Growth, the Sustainable Business Forum, and the Aloha+ Challenge. Under her leadership, AHL has been recognized as a top firm nationally and locally, including inclusion in the top 100 Green firms. She was also instrumental in launching AHL's 1% Pro Bono Program where nonprofits receive pro bono architectural services that result in significant advancement of programs such as the Rain Forest Pavilion for the Hawai‘i Nature Center and the Rooftop Food and Job Training Garden for the Institute of Human Services.