City and County of Honolulu
2019 Annual Sustainability Report
The purpose of this annual sustainability progress report is to inform the community of the City’s progress toward a sustainable and vibrant future. The progress report is essential to highlight the City’s early successes and improve City operations for a stronger, healthier, and livable community.
This report fulfills section 6-107(f) of the Revised Charter of the City and County of Honolulu 1973 (2017 edition): Reporting to the Mayor and Council regarding overall performance in meeting sustainability and environmental targets and objectives.
The performance indicators included in this report were selected based on the following three considerations:
Specific mandates outlined by City Charter;
Primary sustainability goals and commitments adopted by City leadership; and
Availability of data on an annual basis.
This is the City and County of Honolulu’s inaugural annual sustainability report. We welcome feedback on this report regarding other key metrics that should be included in future editions.
In 2016, the same year Honolulu was selected as a member of The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities, voters created the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency.
Two years later, Honolulu has become one of the leading cities in addressing the impacts of climate change. Honolulu is now signed onto the Paris climate agreement, Chicago Climate Charter, is a member of the Powering Past Coal Alliance, and most recently, was announced as one of 25 winning cities in the $70 million Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge.
Achieving a carbon neutral economy
As part of its commitment to the Paris climate agreement, the City completed its first GHG inventory for calendar years 2005, 2015, and 2016 in the fall of 2018. A GHG Inventory is an accounting of the annual total amount of carbon pollution emissions by sector and source in our island economy, and serves as a benchmark to reduce our emissions each year moving forward. The GHG Inventory is also used to identify the largest sources of emissions so we can set island-specific carbon reduction targets and pinpoint clear strategies to achieve those goals.
Sustainable City Operations
For O‘ahu to thrive and become a more sustainable island community, the City must lead by example. From energy usage to fuel consumption, our City will continue to build upon the good work already underway to create a greener, cleaner, and more sustainable O‘ahu.
The metrics in this section include: municipal energy and water consumption, fossil fuel usage, and methane capture and reuse.
Clean & Affordable Transportation
Based on O‘ahu’s first GHG Inventory, on-road transportation is one of the largest GHG emission sources on O‘ahu, second only to building emissions. In addition, the amount of pollution per year is actually rising even as other sources fall. Therefore, reducing transportation-based carbon pollution is critical to meeting our overall climate change commitments. The City has established several goals that will help decarbonize the transportation economy:
Transition our City fleet to 100% renewable energy by 2035;
Convert the entire community to 100% renewable ground transportation by 2045;
Reduce the overall number of vehicle miles traveled; and,
Increase dedicated bike lane miles by 40% by 2021.
These goals are essential to meet Paris climate agreement emission targets and the State’s mandate for carbon neutrality by 2045.
100% Renewable Energy Future
Mayor Caldwell and the City Council have endorsed a goal of 100% renewable energy for our island by 2045. The City is also part of the Aloha+ Challenge, a joint pledge from the State and all four counties that set a mid-term goal of 2030 to have 70% of the island’s energy come from clean and renewable energy sources. In 2018, the Administration also pledged to join the Mayors for Solar Energy Initiative and the Mayors for 100% Clean Energy Initiative, both of which reinforce our clear commitment to transition to 100% renewable energy within a generation.
Water Security & Green Infrastructure
Climate change is already impacting our weather, rainfall, and wind patterns here on O‘ahu. Precipitation has dropped by 22% over the past 30 years, and tradewind days have declined by 28% since the 1970’s. Absent aggressive action to manage and steward our green and natural resources, climate change will present significant threats to our communities through increased flooding, drought, and heat. These metrics help us better understand our protection of precious fresh water resources, as well as making investments today in green infrastructure to defend against a hotter and drier tomorrow with plenty of shade across our communities.
Sustainable Waste Management
As an island city, waste management for Honolulu is more complex than for comparable communities on the continent. The City administration has endorsed the statewide Aloha+ Challenge waste reduction goal of 70% by 2030, and we continue to reduce the amount of waste going to our only landfill. We are committed to tracking the amount of waste we generate on O‘ahu, increase the amount diverted away from our landfill (currently approaching 90% capacity), and develop strategies for source reduction.
In recent decades, coastal communities like O‘ahu have accounted for the majority of U.S. annual disaster losses. In Hawai‘i, climate change has already caused more frequent and powerful hurricanes and tropical storms, intense rainfall, and flood events - a trend which is predicted to accelerate in the future. Climate change presents a threat multiplier for the natural hazards our island faces. We are now witnessing the impacts of chronic coastal erosion, shoreline armoring, and sea level rise to both our beaches and our coastal infrastructure.
Learn more: click here for citations used in the 2019 Annual Sustainability Report