Thank you to the IMO for inviting me to be here. I am with you tonight because the United States recognizes the importance of shipping sector decarbonization and the great scope of this challenge.

Global shipping emits about a billion tons of carbon annually, accounting for three percent of total carbon emissions worldwide. If shipping were a country, it would be the eighth largest emitter in the world and that share is continuing to increase as other major commercialized technologies are helping to decarbonize competing sectors. If we don’t accelerate action today, including crucially developing new low and zero emission fuels at commercial scale, some studies estimate that this sector could account for 17 percent of emissions by 2050.

I recently finished up six years as American Ambassador in Greece. And during my time in Athens, I had a lot of ship owner friends and I saw first-hand how this sector is dealing with the transition. But I also came to understand how in many ways shipping is the most globalized industry of all, it is integral to the global market integration that is driving growth in so many parts of the world.

And as the IRENA DG pointed out, shipping is also essential to the transportation of the materials and fuels that are essential to the process of energy transition. So, there’s the enormously consequential feedback loop at work here

My President, President Biden, has emphasized that the climate crisis and the process of energy transition that it is driving, is also a fantastic commercial growth opportunity and in my current role as Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, I see that demonstrated every day.

Decarbonization in shipping is no exception to this principle and can be a massive driver of new investment in clean energy sectors and job creation in the shipping industry, but also in maritime services and ship-building. The U.S. government and our partners are taking green shipping effort with great seriousness and trying to create a space in support of the private sector to develop the technologies that will be necessary to tackle this challenge.

From the 2021 Leader Summit on Climate, where we centered on green shipping; to COP26, where we worked with the UK, the Marshall Islands, Denmark, and many other partners on the Clydebank Declaration and the Declaration on Zero-Emission Shipping; to the 2022 Our Ocean Conference, where green shipping is one of the core elements on our actions on ocean-based climate solutions.

In fact, one of my very last actions as American Ambassador to Greece, I’m proud to say, was working with Foreign Minister Dendias to see if Greece would become the host of the 2024 Our Oceans Conference where I know the Greek government will be keen to highlight this particular sector.

And of course, just a few days ago here in COP27 during the World Leaders Summit, we joined with Norway to launch the Green Shipping Challenge. Governments and the private sector have made more than 40 major announcements on key problem sets: developing and production of zero-emission fuels, investment in zero-emission vessels and other technologies, and accelerating projects to demonstrate and develop green shipping corridors.

But at home as well, we are taking aggressive action in the United States. We are implementing an American maritime decarbonization strategy with the budgetary support to make it real. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act includes a $3 billion rebate and grant program to provide funding for zero emission port improvement and other technologies in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced more than $700 million to fund more than 40 port facility improvements across the United States in the same spirit.

And we are launching three bilateral programs with Canada, the Republic of Korea, and the United Kingdom to develop green shipping corridors. Through the Green Shipping Corridor Initiation, the State Department has dedicated resources to ensure broader global participation in the transition of shipping early in this process and supporting feasibility studies for routes that involve developing countries.

These government actions are both urgent and necessary but it’s going to take concerted effort from all of us – governments, international organizations, and the private sector – to make real progress on decarbonization.

That’s why I’m so pleased to see the global focus on these issues and the broad spectrum of participation and attendees here today. I very much look forward to seeing the results of the discussion and continuing the State Department’s and the Energy Bureau’s close engagement with our partners from the global shipping industry to see this transition to successful conclusion.

Thank you very much.

U.S. Department of State

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