City initiates “Climate Ready O‘ahu” adaptation strategy

City initiates “Climate Ready O‘ahu” adaptation strategy; welcomes resident participation and engagement via on-line tools launched today


Climate change risks include increasing temperatures, changes in precipitation including “rain bombs,” and sea level rise and sunny day flooding during king tides, among others climate shocks and stresses.



Image credits clockwise from top right: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Hawai‘i Sea Grant King Tides Project, City and County of Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation Division of Urban Forestry.


The City and County of Honolulu (City) Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency launched “Climate Ready Oahu” today, inviting community participation to help shape a first ever overall climate adaptation strategy for our island.


“As an elected leader and a father, I take climate change seriously and want to do everything I can to help to protect our residents from climate risks coming our way,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “As we work on COVID-19 response and recovery efforts, we still need to keep an eye on the horizon and take the steps now to reduce risk, and help us thrive as a community for years to come.”


A community effort to adapt to climate change impacts is different and distinct from an effort to slow or stop climate change from occurring. A “Climate Action Plan” lays out the path to reducing carbon pollution from fossil fuels that are the cause of global heating.


A “climate adaptation strategy” is much different: it lays out how communities have to change to protect themselves from larger storms and other impacts that are coming our way as a result of climate change already underway. The development of a specific Climate Ready O‘ahu adaptation strategy was identified by the community as a key priority, and listed as Action #28 in the recent O‘ahu Resilience Strategy.


𝐂𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐑𝐞𝐚𝐝𝐲 𝐎‘𝐚𝐡𝐮 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐥𝐮𝐝𝐞:


• 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐠𝐥𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐥 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐡𝐚𝐳𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐞 𝐦𝐚𝐩𝐬;

• 𝐄𝐯𝐚𝐥𝐮𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐠𝐥𝐨𝐛𝐚𝐥 𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐬 𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐫𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐞, 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐩𝐨𝐩𝐮𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬;

• 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐚𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐃𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐥𝐨𝐩𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐬, 𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐟𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐬, 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐌𝐮𝐥𝐭𝐢-𝐇𝐚𝐳𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝐏𝐫𝐞-𝐃𝐢𝐬𝐚𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐌𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐠𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐏𝐥𝐚𝐧;

• 𝐃𝐞𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐩𝐬 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐡𝐢𝐠𝐡 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐤𝐬; 𝐚𝐧𝐝

• 𝐄𝐧𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧-𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐜𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐬.


“This Climate Ready O‘ahu strategy is essentially a roadmap to living safely on this island, but it will only be as strong as the community knowledge that helps draw it,” said Josh Stanbro, Chief Resilience Officer and Executive Director of the City’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. “Just like COVID-19, climate change is an all-hands-on-deck moment—and one agency or one community can’t do it alone. We are hoping to learn what the community wants to protect, and the best way to do it together as we face mounting storms, floods, and heatwaves.”


The historic fires on the west coast of the continental United States, unprecedented hurricane activity in the gulf coast, and a resurgence of drought conditions here in Hawai‘i have all put climate change risk back on the radar for residents even as global populations continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.


“Island-wide adaptation strategies are critical for protecting communities that are experiencing climate impacts now. While reducing our greenhouse gas emissions will lessen future consequences, our lack of collective action up to now means that we are locked into the negative impacts from our past emissions for the next few decades,” said Dr. Victoria Keener, Chair of the City Climate Change Commission. “Get involved! The many opportunities for public input and participation in shaping this plan will help ensure that the burdens and benefits of climate adaptation are more equitably shared.”


To learn more about the project timeline and to participate in a resident survey, please visit www.climatereadyoahu.org


𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲-𝐰𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐬𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐚𝐥𝐬𝐨 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐝 𝐛𝐲 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐂𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐰𝐞𝐥𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐧-𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐧𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞. 𝐅𝐢𝐫𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝 𝐫𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐯𝐢𝐫𝐭𝐮𝐚𝐥 𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐚𝐠𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐬 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐝:


• 𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝟏: 𝐖𝐞𝐝𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟏, 𝟐𝐩𝐦-𝟑:𝟑𝟎𝐩𝐦; 𝐓𝐡𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟐, 𝟔𝐩𝐦-𝟕:𝟑𝟎𝐩𝐦; 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐎𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐𝟒, 𝟏𝟎:𝟑𝟎𝐚𝐦-𝟏𝟐𝐩𝐦.

• 𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝟐: 𝐌𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐍𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟐, 𝟔𝐩𝐦-𝟕:𝟑𝟎𝐩𝐦; 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐍𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟔, 𝟏𝟎:𝟑𝟎𝐚𝐦-𝟏𝟐𝐩𝐦; 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐒𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐍𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝟕, 𝟏𝟎:𝟑𝟎𝐚𝐦-𝟏𝟐𝐩𝐦.


*Engagements will be held online via Zoom. Each round offers three dates and times to accommodate participants’ varying availabilities/preferences. Interested participants need only attend one meeting per each round.

The Climate Ready O‘ahu website at www.climatereadyoahu.org features a “Learn” page that presents an interactive representation of climate science from the City Climate Change Commission’s 2018 “Climate Change Brief,” which all are encouraged to explore, particularly students and teachers. Website visitors can also explore the O‘ahu Heat Vulnerability Map Series, which reminds us that climate change impacts include more than just coastal hazards and flooding and drought, but also the current and increasing stresses of rising temperatures.


Lastly, the Resilience Office and the Honolulu Land Information System (HoLIS) Division of the Department of Planning and Permitting created the Climate Ready O‘ahu Web Explorer bringing together multiple climate risk data into one map viewer to facilitate community learning and for use by residents, businesses, and City staff. This is also available at the project’s “Learn” page or directly at bit.ly/climatereadyoahumap.


After incorporating community input in several phases and utilizing technical experts to identify key areas of risk, the Climate Ready O‘ahu adaptation strategy is anticipated to be completed in September 2021.


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