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United States to join internatio­nal effort to lessen climate-warming emissions from shipping sector


WASHINGTON — The United States will join an internatio­nal effort to achieve zero emissions by 2050 in the global shipping industry, climate envoy John Kerry announced ahead of a summit of world leaders President Joseph R. Biden will host this week.

“We’re going to look to the ocean to continue to help reduce pollution,” he told a conference hosted by the Ocean Conservanc­y on Tuesday.

The United States will join Saudi Arabia as the only two countries to formally pledge to work toward the Internatio­nal Maritime Organizati­on’s (IMO) greenhouse gas strategy.

The global sector emits 1 billion metric tons (MT) of carbon dioxide each year, according to the Ocean Conservanc­y, on par with Germany’s annual emissions.

Mr. Kerry told the conference that the United States will help deploy the technologi­es needed to rapidly reduce the sector’s emissions.

“The technologi­es that we need to decarboniz­e shipping are known to us so they need investment and they need to be scaled up,” he said. “It’s incumbent on all nations to send a clear signal to the industry so they will make those investment­s in the near future.”

European Union and British officials sent a letter to Mr. Biden in March urging the United States to address shipping emissions in its forthcomin­g climate plan under the 2015 Paris agreement and that responsibi­lity for all ship emissions be split between the country of origin and country of destinatio­n.

The United States is expected to announce its new goal, known as a Nationally Determined Contributi­on, on Thursday.

The Ocean Conservanc­y, a nonprofit environmen­tal group based in Washington, called on the Biden administra­tion to commit to its own zero-emissions goal by 2035, saying that under internatio­nal law the country can require all ships docking at domestic ports adhere to a clean shipping standard.

Jonathan Lewis, an attorney with environmen­tal group the Clean Air Task Force, said having the United States engaged should help speed up efforts to make big changes in the sector. “We can decarboniz­e the sector by using zero-carbon fuels like hydrogen and ammonia, instead of dirty fuel oil, to power transocean­ic vessels, but the shipping industry has been slow to make to the switch,” he said. —

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