The United States will push the International Maritime Organization toward net-zero emissions by 2050.
In 2018, the IMO adopted an initial strategy that seeks to reduce total annual GHG emissions from international shipping by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels.
The initial strategy is scheduled to be finalized in 2023.
The United States will join an effort by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to bring the global shipping sector to net zero emissions by 2050, climate envoy John Kerry announced ahead of a summit of climate leaders to be hosted this week by President Joe Biden.
“I want to announce that, in support of the global effort to keep us within 1.5 degrees Celsius and in support of global efforts to achieve net zero by 2050, the United States is committed to working with countries at the IMO to adopt a goal of achieving net zero emissions from international shipping by 2050,” he told a conference organized by the Ocean Conservancy.
The global sector emits 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, according to Ocean Conservancy, on par with Germany’s annual emissions.
The United States, along with Saudi Arabia, had been one of two countries to issue a formal “reservation” on the IMO’s initial greenhouse gas strategy.
Kerry told the conference that the U.S. will help deploy the technologies needed to rapidly reduce emissions from the sector, which he said are “known to us” and require investment to scale up.
Officials from the European Union and the United Kingdom sent a letter to Biden in March urging the United States to address shipping emissions in its next climate plan under the 2015 Paris agreement and that responsibility for all ship emissions be shared between the country of origin and destination.
The U.S. is expected to announce its new target, known as a Nationally Determined Contribution, as early as Wednesday before the summit.
The Ocean Conservancy, a Washington-based nonprofit environmental group, called on the Biden administration to commit to its own zero emissions target by 2035, saying that under international law, the country can require all ships docking at domestic ports to adhere to a clean shipping standard.