Brian Schatz

Governor Neil AbercrombieBrian Schatz, the newest member of the U.S. Senate.

The new senator from Hawaii may come from a laid-back state, but he’s not very chill when it comes to climate change. Brian Schatz (D), the former lieutenant governor, said this week that climate change will top his legislative agenda as he joins the Senate as a replacement for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (D).

“For me, personally, I believe global climate change is real and it is the most urgent challenge of our generation,” Schatz said.

And then this beautiful rainbow burst forth across the islands.

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I don’t have to tell you how unusual it is to hear this kind of straight talk from a U.S. senator. But Schatz is young, and he also comes from a series of small islands that for obvious reasons may have more immediate concerns about rising sea levels than, say, Nebraska. From The Hill:

Schatz will serve with incoming [senator] Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who is replacing retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii).

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Hirono and Schatz likely will both champion climate change.

Hirono was named to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources earlier this month, and touted clean energy on the campaign trail. Green groups have praised Hirono’s positions on energy and climate change.

Climate change is particularly urgent for America’s 50th state. Pacific islands, including Hawaii, have been experiencing droughts, eroded beaches, and increased storm surges, and they’re not afraid of connecting the dots to climate collapse. More warm temps across the state could help grow the year-round mosquito population and further expose and damage Hawaii’s prized coral reefs.

Mahalo, Sen. Schatz, for saying what most pols won’t. Now, for the doing!

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