Gov. Josh Green (D-HA) claimed Sunday that climate change was as much to blame for wildfires on the island of Maui as bad decisions made “in the moment.”
The Hawaiian Democrat acknowledged during an interview on the CBS program “Face the Nation” there were certain missteps by local officials and private entities during the Maui wildfires.
Green claimed that the effects of those human errors were intensified due to climate change.
“So just to be clear, when you’re talking about global warming, are you saying climate change amplified the cost of human error?” host Margaret Brennan asked the governor.
“Yes. It did.” Green responded. “There’s always going to be incredible things that people do to save lives from the firefighters, from the citizens. And there are always decisions made that I’m sure aren’t perfect in the moment.
“But when you have fire that moved more than a mile a minute, and what happened, I’m told by some of the survivors, they were at the initial fire, it was put out some time late in the afternoon in Lahaina, and then the firefighters had to go to three other fires that started because of the conditions.”
Green also highlighted limitations faced during such emergencies, saying first excuses should not ever be made before issuing the excuse that there are finite resources sometimes in the moment.
The West Maui Land Company, responsible for managing various subdivisions and water jurisdictions, claimed that they sought permission to divert water to combat the wildfires on the day they started.
However, they faced delays of several hours as the Commission On Water Resource Management sought approval from local farmers before taking action, according to a Fox News report.
The report noted that Hawaiian Electric had been aware since 2019 of the need to take measures to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires.
A report from The Wall Street Journal indicated that the company had invested less than $250,000 on wildfire-related projects before seeking state approval to increase rates in 2022.
Instead, their primary focus was on transitioning to renewable energy sources as mandated by the state.
Green mentioned that a thorough review is underway to determine if power lines were the initial cause of the fires.
“It’s not to excuse anything else from any company,” Green said. “It’s just to explain what the world should prepare for. I humbly ask all of the cities and states to spend that money now to prevent disasters like we are seeing here.”