Hawaii Spurned Rockefeller Group’s Climate Lawsuit, But Upcoming Election Could Reverse Course

One of the candidates in Hawaii’s gubernatorial race has revealed new details of the unrelenting campaign by the Rockefeller-funded Center for Climate Integrity (CCI) to influence state and local governments around the country to file climate lawsuits against energy producers. On a podcast released earlier this week, the former mayor of Honolulu and current Democratic candidate for governor detailed how his office was solicited by CCI and encouraged to join their climate litigation campaign.

Then-Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell filed a public nuisance lawsuit against several oil and natural gas companies in 2020, along with the County of Honolulu; the County of Maui filed a similar but separate lawsuit shortly after.

The podcast City Climate Corner recently highlighted the Hawaii lawsuits and interviewed “some of the key people involved to learn how it happened, why they did it, and what they expect to gain from it.” That list of people involved includes former Mayor Caldwell, Maui City Council member Kelly Takaya King, and Alyssa Johl, legal director for CCI.

Speaking to the origins of the lawsuit, Caldwell admitted that he and other Hawaii officials were recruited by Rockefeller-funded CCI to file the lawsuit:

“[CCI’s Alyssa Johl] showed up on Oahu. We got her before the governor of the state of Hawaii and we are in his cabinet room with a whole bunch of people, and my goal – we’re on board to file a lawsuit, but we wanted the state of Hawaii to do it, we wanted all the counties to do it, and Maui stepped up.”

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