Earlier this year, Congressman Alan Lowenthal ((California), who represents the Port of Long Beach–one of the nation’s busiest cargo ports–introduced the Clean Shipping Act, legislation aimed at zeroing out pollution from all ocean shipping companies that do business with the U.S. This bill aims to clean up the shipping industry, which on its own produces more emissions than all but five individual countries in the world. The legislation will also protect the health of port communities, address environmental injustice, and provide solutions to the climate crisis.

The bill directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to:

  1. Set carbon intensity standards for fuels used by ships; and
  2. Set requirements to eliminate in-port ship emissions by 2030.

Emitting almost 1 billion tons of climate pollution per year, the shipping industry’s annual emissions are roughly the same as all the coal plants in the U.S. combined. The sector could account for 17-18 percent of all global emissions by 2050 if corrective policies are not put in place.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations agency that regulates shipping, has set a goal of cutting shipping emissions by at least 50 percent below 2008 levels by 2050; however, the IMO’s strategy is not aligned with achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit global average temperature increase to 1.5-degrees Celsius in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Coming legislation will work to close that gap.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.