Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site

About the Park

Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is located in Kawaihae on the Island of Hawai'i. The great temple of Kamehameha the Great, Pu'ukohola Heiau, rises majestically above the turquoise waters of the Pacific, a silent testament to the most renowned king of Hawai'i. Mailekini Heiau, the temple-turned-fort that once thundered with the sound of cannons, continues to stand guard. The sharks return most days to Hale o Kapuni Heiau, the submerged ruins of a temple that was once dedicated to them. 

Apostle Islands NL

Climate change presents significant risks and challenges to the National Park Service and specifically to Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. Scientists cannot predict with certainty the general severity of climate change nor its impacts. Average global temperatures on the Earth’s surface have increased about 1.1°F since the late 19th century, and the 10 warmest years of the 20th century all occurred in the last 15 years. Rising global temperatures will further raise sea levels and affect all aspects of the water cycle, including snow cover, mountain glaciers, spring runoff, water temperature and aquatic life. Climate change is also expected to affect human health, crop production, animal and plant habitat, and many other features of our natural and managed environments.

At Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site increasing temperatures and changing precipitation patterns may alter park ecosystems, changing vegetation communities, habitats available for species, and the experience of park visitors. Sea-level rise poses the most significant threat to Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site.

This Action Plan identifies steps that the Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site can undertake to reduce GHG emissions mitigate its impact on climate change.  This plan presents the park’s emission reduction targets and associated reduction strategies designed to achieve the park’s emission reduction goals. While the plan does not provide detailed instructions on how to carry out each of the proposed measures, it provides the essential framework needed to meet Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site’s emission reduction targets.

Emissions Profile

GHG emissions result from the combustion of fossil fuels for transportation and energy (e.g., electricity generation), the decomposition of waste and other organic matter, and the volatilization or release of gases from various other sources (e.g., fertilizers).

In fiscal year 2008, GHG emissions within Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site (PUHE) totaled 144 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site purchased 118,813 kWh of electricity from Hawaii Electric Company (HELCO) in fiscal year 2008. The largest emission sector for Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is purchased electricity, totaling 102 MTCO2E.

The graph below, taken from our Climate Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2008 broken down into sectors, including visitor travel.


Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site has set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gases and environmental impact. Understanding the limitations of the Island's natural resources, Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is actively seeking to become a "green" park. From the solar panels that were installed on park buildings in late 2009, to the "green" vehicles that the Park utilizes, we all understand that each of us has a role to play in protecting our planet.

To read more about what we are doing at the Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site about climate change, check out our Action Plan!