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Young Hawaiians obtain “historic” agreement for transport decarbonization



In June 2022, 13 children and adolescents from the Hawaiian archipelago took the American state to court: they claimed that the consequences of climate change violated their constitutional right to a healthy and unpolluted environment. They accused the Department of Transport in particular of systematically giving priority to the most polluting means of transport, in particular through the construction of motorways. On Thursday June 20, an amicable settlement procedure was concluded between the two parties. This still includes ambitious clauses concerning the decarbonization of state transport.

“They are well aware of what is happening on their planet and are dedicated to fighting for a better future for themselves and future generations”, affirms, admiringly, Washington Post, Julia Olson, member of the Our Children’s Trust organization who defended the young activists’ appeal in court. This agreement is described as“historical” : this is the first time in the world that such a procedure has resulted in a binding agreement for the authorities.

According to Thursday’s decision in the case “Navahine v. Hawaii Department of Transportation,” the state has one year to come up with a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. This plan must include a series of plans over five years aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in stages until reaching a “net zero emissions” objective by 2045. “In addition to increasing the share of zero-carbon fuel for road, air and maritime transport, (it) must also improve alternative options in public transport and by creating pathways for pedestrians and bicycles,” details the American newspaper.

In a communicated, the Democratic governor of Hawaii, Josh Green, stressed that many of the plaintiffs, the youngest of whom was 9 years old when the complaint was filed, are indigenous people who are already suffering the consequences of climate change. As was the case last year when fires, “deadliest in modern American history“, precise The Washington Postravaged entire areas of the island of Maui.

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