Hawaii will have a strong voice in the national discussion on climate change.
President Obama established a new Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience Friday and appointed Gov. Neil Abercrombie to the team.
Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resource Chairperson William Aila has worked with Abercrombie for nearly three years and said the governor's forward thinking on climate change makes him an ideal member of the new national task force of state and local officials who will advise the Obama administration on how to respond to impacts of climate change.
"Climate change is here in Hawaii right now," Aila said. "We have many beaches that have not eroded in historical times that are now eroding in areas that we have not seen before and at rates that we have not seen before."
Abercrombie said he hopes he will bring a clear recognition of the role the Pacific Ocean and the Asia-Pacific region plays in climate change.
"Hawaii is the only state with both statewide greenhouse gas reduction and climate change adaptation policies, said Jesse Souki, director of Hawaii's Office of Planning. "Act 268, signed by the governor in 2012, provides statewide climate change adaptation priority guidelines for addressing the impacts of climate change."
Also Friday, Abercrombie introduced Jacqueline Kozak Thiel, the state's new sustainability coordinator.
"I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of a really exciting process of helping to facilitate Hawaii signing (the) Majuro Declaration to climate change," Thiel said.
Hawaii was the first sub-national government to sign the declaration to reduce carbon emissions and invest in adaptation.
Abercrombie is one of eight governors and 18 local leaders on Obama's new task force.