Greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector are significant, increasing, and on a trajectory that is not compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Compared to country emissions, the sector would rank among the top ten largest emitters globally.
To help place the sector on a pathway to align with the goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the United States and Norway organized the Green Shipping Challenge at COP27. The Challenge encouraged governments, ports, and companies to prepare commitments to spur the transition to green shipping.
On November 7, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry chaired the launch of the Green Shipping Challenge during the World Leaders Summit of COP27. Countries, ports, and companies made more than 40 major announcements addressing innovations for ships, expansion in low- or zero-emission fuels, and policies to help promote the uptake of next-generation vessels. Further information on international announcements under the Challenge is in the Joint Summary of the Green Shipping Challenge.
The United States is leading the transition to zero-emission shipping as part of our commitment to tackle the climate crisis at home and internationally. For example:
- The Inflation Reduction Act includes a new $3 billion rebate and grant program at the Environmental Protection Agency to provide funding for zero-emission port equipment or technology, along with technical assistance for electrification and emissions reductions planning and port climate action plan development. Because ports can be a significant source of pollution, this program will promote the public health of near-port communities.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation announced more than $703 million to fund 41 projects in 22 states and one territory that will improve port facilities through the Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program. The funding, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and additional Congressional appropriations, will benefit coastal seaports, Great Lakes ports, and inland river ports, helping improve supply chain reliability through increased port capacity and resilience, more efficient operations, reduced port emissions, and new workforce opportunities.
- The United States is working with countries in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to include in the revision of the Initial IMO Strategy on the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships a goal of phasing out greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping to zero no later than 2050, goals for 2030 and 2040 that align with the midcentury target, and dedication to a just transition that leaves no one behind.
New announcements under the Green Shipping Challenge include:
Facilitating U.S. Green Shipping Corridors
- The United States and the Republic of Korea are announcing technical cooperation to help facilitate establishment of a green shipping corridor. The U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Energy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea, and Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea will undertake a feasibility study to explore the potential of creating a green shipping corridor between major cargo ports in the Republic of Korea and the United States. This work will be performed through the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission, in close consultation with the U.S. Northwest Seaport Alliance and the Port of Busan.
- The United States and Canada are announcing the Great Lakes/Saint Lawrence Seaway System Green Shipping Corridor Network Initiative. The U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of State, and Transport Canada will work with state, provincial, local, private-sector, non-governmental leaders, and Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the United States to host consultations with ports and other stakeholders, with the goal of facilitating the establishment of a Great Lakes Green Shipping Corridor Network. This effort builds on the work established by the “Joint Statement by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Transport Canada on the Nexus between Transportation and Climate Change.”
- The United States and the United Kingdom are announcing our intention to support the establishment of green shipping corridors between our countries. To advance this intention, we are launching a U.S. – UK green shipping corridor task force—to include the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of Transportation, UK Department for Transport and other relevant government departments—which will convene subnational and private-sector stakeholders and collaborate to drive innovation, R&D, and demonstration projects.
Creating a U.S. National Action Plan
- In early 2023, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will release a transportation sector decarbonization blueprint, which will serve as a roadmap for expanding federal agency priorities to create options for traveling smarter, more efficiently, and cleaner. After the release of the blueprint, and as a key component of this effort, these departments and agencies will commence in 2023 the development of a U.S. maritime decarbonization strategy, which will identify the pathways for—and the agency-specific actions that can support—decarbonization of the domestic maritime sector.
Facilitating Green Shipping Corridors Worldwide
- The United States and its partners in the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission are announcing the launch of a Green Shipping Corridor Hub, an online platform with resources and tools that aim to streamline the formation and deployment of green shipping corridors globally. The Hub will feature a green shipping corridor route tracker, a matchmaker tool to help stakeholders connect, and a library of green shipping corridor reports and analyses.
- The U.S. Department of State is launching the Green Shipping Corridors Initiation Project with $1.5 million, subject to Congressional notification and the completion of domestic procedures, to support feasibility studies for green shipping corridors involving developing countries and symposia to bring together country representatives and non-state actors, including ports and companies, on green shipping corridor opportunities and implementation.
Together with its partners, the United States looks forward to building on these foundational commitments to the zero-emission maritime transition.