Hawaii Sen. Schatz replaces Sen. Hirono on Energy committee

Green groups had expressed excitement about Hirono’s committee assignment, calling her an advocate of clean energy and conservation.

They likely will be just as pleased with Schatz who, like Hirono, has said he is committed to combating climate change.

In a December media conference that announced his appointment, Schatz said, “For me, personally, I believe global climate change is real and it is the most urgent challenge of our generation.”

Schatz will face a special election in 2014 to earn the right to serve out the final two years of Inouye's term. If he wins, Schatz said he intends to run for a full term in 2016.