Clean Shipping Act of 2023 introduced

Written by Nick Blenkey
Clean Shipping Act of 2023

Image (C) Architect of the Capitol

Today is World Ocean Day and, perhaps sending a signal that legislators in many parts of the world can’t wait for IMO to act, Congressman Robert Garcia (CA-42), and Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) have now introduced the Clean Shipping Act of 2023. Congresswoman Nanette Barragán (CA-44) is a co-lead.

According to its sponsors, “the Clean Shipping Act of 2023 would set a path to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from all ocean shipping companies that do business with the United States. The bill aims to clean up the shipping industry, protect the health of port communities, address environmental injustice, and provide solutions to the climate crisis by giving the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate carbon intensity standards for maritime fuel. Technological pathways exist to make this possible.”

Essentially, the legislation seeks to amend the Clean Air Act by requiring the Administrator of the EPA to establish standards to limit the carbon intensity of the fuel used by ships.

In part it reads:

The Administrator shall, by regulation, require each vessel on a covered voyage to comply with standards for the carbon intensity of the fuel used by such vessel so that such carbon in-tensity is—

A) in each of calendar years 2027 through 2029, at least 20 percent less than the carbon intensity baseline;

B) in each of calendar years 2030 through 2034, at least 45 percent less than the carbon intensity baseline;

C) in each of calendar years 2035 through 2039, at least 80 percent less than the carbon intensity baseline; and

D) in calendar year 2040 and each calendar year thereafter, 100 percent less than the carbon intensity baseline.

Zero carbon by 2040 is of course way more ambitious than anything in the works at IMO and the International Chamber of Shipping’s goal of reaching net zero by 2050.

You can read the full text of the bill HERE.

“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.”

“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.”

“We commend Congressmembers Garcia, Barragán, and Padilla for leading the effort to reintroduce the Clean Shipping Act to help protect U.S. port communities from toxic pollution. Momentum for shipping decarbonization continues to grow around the world and here in the U.S. with eight out of 10 registered voters wanting to see Congress pass laws that will make the shipping industry cleaner. Mandatory, technology-forcing policies like this bill will send a clear signal to industry that zero-emissions shipping must replace fossil fuels. Now is the time for the U.S. to be a global climate leader, and we urge Congress to pass this important legislation,” said Antonio Santos, Federal Climate Policy Director, Pacific Environment.

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