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New Legislation Seeks to Combat Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Shipping

Dozens of container ships wait off the coast of the congested ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, in Long Beach, California, U.S., September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Mike Blake

New Legislation Seeks to Combat Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Shipping

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1407
June 8, 2023

To mark World Ocean Day, U.S. Congressman Robert Garcia (CA-42), alongside Senator Alex Padilla (D-California), have introduced new legislation to help curb greenhouse gas emissions from shipping by limiting, and eventually eliminating, the carbon intensity of marine fuel used by ships calling at U.S. ports.

The Clean Shipping Act of 2023 would amend the Clean Air Act to set a path to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from ships doing business with the U.S. by 2040, while giving the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate carbon intensity standards for maritime fuel.

“The Clean Shipping Act of 2023 is a strong, necessary step that will make our maritime ports greener and address ongoing challenges contributing to the global climate crisis,” said Congressman Garcia. “Not only does this bill drastically decrease shipping emissions in the United States, but it brings long-awaited justice to our port-adjacent communities that have suffered the consequences of port pollution for far too long.”

Currently, the IMO member states have adopted only an initial strategy targeting a 50% reducing in overall GHG emissions from shipping by 2050, compared to 2008 levels. But with the shipping industry representing nearly 3% of global CO2 emissions, the industry is under mounting pressure to strengthen its target to align it with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global average temperature rise to within 1.5-degrees Celsius this century—requiring a minimum of net zero GHG emissions by 2050. A final strategy is expected next month.

“This World Ocean Day, I am proud to introduce legislation that improves our shipping industry by reducing emissions in maritime transportation and simultaneously protecting coastal communities,” said Senator Padilla. “California’s port communities have been forced to shoulder the brunt of shipping pollution for too long. The health of our communities and the health of our planet requires us forward thinking and ambitious—we owe it to future generations.”

The Clean Shipping Act of 2023 appears to be similar to the Clean Shipping Act of 2022, introduced last July by Congressman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) and Congresswomen Nanette Barragán (CA-44), representing the home districts for the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.

“The Clean Shipping Act is the game-changer we need to clean up the shipping industry and improve public health in port communities, including communities of color living in my district near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” said Congresswoman Barragán. “The support of the legislation by the environmental community and the shipping industry shows that zero-emissions shipping is the future, and America should lead the way. To successfully decarbonize the shipping industry at the speed and scale necessary to address the climate crisis, the EPA must set clear standards for zero-emission fuels and zero-emission port technology. Let’s get it done.”

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