Pacific Environment’s Monthly Newsletter

Jared Saylor
Date: April 17, 2024

Welcome to the April 2024 edition of Pacific Environment’s new monthly e-newsletter! This is an opportunity to highlight some of our work and share victories for communities, climate, and wildlife.


Earth Day: Planet vs. Plastics

It is the 54th celebration of Earth Day and this year’s theme of Planet vs. Plastics is important to our work at Pacific Environment. Our staff are honored to be in Ottawa, Canada, at the fourth round of the United Nations’ Global Plastics Treaty talks. We’re joining citizens, scientists and advocates from around the globe to tell world leaders about the harms of plastic in our communities and why a Global Plastics Treaty is so necessary.

Because it’s clear: plastic poisons people. From fossil fuel extraction to plastic waste clogging ecosystems — and even as microplastics found in our bodies — the skyrocketing production of plastic is harming all life on our planet. We need a new way to think about plastic, and that’s why a robust Global Plastics Treaty is necessary to regulate petrochemical production and guide countries toward a safer, cleaner future.

An alarming new report published by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) confirms that plastic production is a huge contributor to global climate change. Gone unchecked, the report’s authors estimate that by mid-century, global climate change pollution from the plastics industry could triple, accounting for one-fifth of Earth’s remaining carbon budget.

This research is the most comprehensive to date on the topic of plastic’s climate impacts, and underscores an earlier Pacific Environment report, “Stemming the Plastic-Climate Crisis”, which calls for a 75% reduction of plastics to keep within the important threshold of the 1.5 degree temperature change scenario.

So what can you do when it’s the Planet vs. Plastics? Add your name to a multi-organization Global Plastics Treaty petition (thanks for helping us reach over 20,000 signatures — let’s keep it going!) and donate today to help us continue our work fighting plastic production.

Take action today!

Ports for People

EPA: Approve life-saving protections and safeguard California’s health and air quality

In a victory for people and climate, the California Air Resources Board amended the Commercial Harbor Craft Rule in 2022, setting the first zero-emissions mandate for ferries in the U.S and requiring cleaner engine upgrades for tugboats and other regulated vessels. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has yet to approve these lifesaving amendments. (FYI: Under the Clean Air Act, the state of California must get approval from EPA in order to enforce any regulation related to emission control from nonroad vehicles such as boats.)

Antonio Santos, Federal Policy Director, Pacific Environment

We are running ads on bus shelters right outside of EPA’s headquarters in Washington, DC to pressure EPA to approve these rules! You can help pressure the EPA to authorize this important life-saving rule by signing the petition to U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan.


Hosting a Green Shipping Forum in China

Last month, Pacific Environment hosted the Green Shipping Forum in Chongqing, China. Nearly 100 participants across 53 organizations, including government officers, executives from shipping companies, and experts from research and advocacy groups joined this conference to encourage dialogue and collaboration to accelerate #ZeroEmission shipping and #ZeroWaste in China.

We and our partners focused on green shipping on the Yangtze River, where industry, academic and civil participants shared insights on decarbonizing Chinese and international shipping against a dual-carbon background and discussed potential pathways to green shipping transformation. We also hosted zero-waste city sessions including a co-creation workshop to discuss the topics of public participation, envisioning and building zero-waste cities, public participation strategies, and methods for promoting reuse strategies.

Maersk ship

Learn more about Pacific Environment’s work in China.


Support for GHG pricing for shipping increases, more to be done

The International Maritime Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting last month in London showed growing support for what would be the world’s first global emissions price greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions levy. Pacific Environment and the Clean Shipping Coalition welcomed the news but warned that IMO member states must also maintain focus on other key issues such as the global fuel standard (GFS) and the improvement of how energy is used in ships via the carbon intensity indicator (CII).

“It is encouraging to see the continued leadership of small developing countries, as well as the Indigenous Inuit Peoples of the Arctic, speak up in favor of an ambitious levy at the IMO this week,” said Jim Gamble, Senior Director of Arctic Programs at Pacific Environment. “This momentum moves us closer to a universal price on GHG emissions that will be a necessary part of providing shipping’s just and equitable energy transition. Now, continued negotiations must remain inclusive – not just ensuring small countries are part of the discussion but also addressing the full framework that is necessary to achieve the 2023 GHG Strategy’s goals, and push them closer to Paris 1.5C alignment, specifically through improving the energy efficiency of ships with wind assist and other measures and a clean energy standard alongside a standalone levy.”