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Hawaii Senator Says Maui Fire Is Byproduct Of Climate Change

Mazie Hirono Criticized Opposition To Climate Change Referring To It As 'Head-In-The-Sand'

Hawaii senator Mazie Hirono suggested last week’s fire in Maui was caused by climate change.

Hirono made her remarks during a Sunday appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” with host Jake Tapper.

“We are in a period of mourning and loss,” Hirono said, adding first responders were still searching for missing people and DNA is being requested to assist in identifying those have perished. “We are in … the initial phases, but we’re gonna do everything we can to provide the kind of support that people will need.”

Tapper speculated the Maui fire may have been spurred by “climate change [which] is fueling stronger storms, hotter temperatures, [and] more widespread droughts.” The CNN host also asked the Hawaii senator if President Biden should declare a climate emergency.

“I think that we very much need to acknowledge that climate change is upon us,” Hirono responded. “There are whole states, by the way, Jake, where you can’t even use the words climate change because they still have a head-in-the-sand attitude.”

Hirono cited 2022’s Inflation Reduction Act‘s efforts to fund climate change initiatives and move away from fossil fuels, though added “there is more that needs to be done.”

“There will be lessons learned.”


Hirono noted wildfires were a common occurrence in Hawaii.

“We need to be assessing our ability to contend with these kinds of natural occuring disasters which we are seeing more of,” she continued. “The frequency, the damage that is done, clearly this is happening all across the world.”

Hawaii Governor Josh Green similarly suggested the Maui fire may have been a byproduct of “global warming.”

“It is a product, in my estimation, of certainly global warming combined with drought, combined with a super storm, where we had a hurricane offshore several hundred miles, still generating large winds,” Green said.

Last week, several scientists and officials commented on the Maui fire and Hawaii’s overall climate.

“There is no doubt that fire-prone grasses have invaded drier Hawaiian ecosystems and brought larger, more intense fires,” said Stanford University professor of earth sciences Peter Vitousek, per USA Today.

“We don’t know what actually ignited the fires, but we were made aware in advance by the National Weather Service that we were in a red flag situation,” Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, commander general of the Hawaii Army National Guard, said during a Wednesday briefing. “So that’s dry conditions for a long time, so the fuel, the trees and everything, was dry.”

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