Green corridors & ships get attention at COP27

Madeline Rose & Allyson Browne
Date: November 15, 2022

Hello from Egypt, where we’re on the ground at the U.N. Climate Conference, or COP27 — the world’s most important climate summit — to support crucial new efforts to end port and ship pollution

Thanks to your support and the hard work of our team, allies, and partners, we are driving solutions to end ship pollution on the largest global stage for climate change. Here’s how we are helping clean up shipping’s dirty business to reach zero emissions

We celebrated the launch of the Green Shipping Challenge by Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry to rapidly move the shipping industry to zero emissions (more on this in our wrap-up here).

Within the challenge, we were especially pleased to see meaningful commitments to create “green shipping corridors,” a concept Pacific Environment has advocated for since 2019 and helped bring to reality in collaboration with the governments of the United Kingdom, United States, and others at COP26.

Specifically, the United States and South Korea formalized official bilateral relations in support of creating a green shipping corridor between the Port of Busan, South Korea’s largest port, and the U.S. West Coast ports. Pacific Environment first called for this collaboration in April 2022, and we are so pleased to see the relationships formalizing! 

In addition, the Ports of Singapore, Long Beach, and Los Angeles announced a partnership to create a “green and digital corridor” between their ports. This is particularly important as Singapore is the largest refueling port for ships in the world, so it’s critical to move away from fossil fuels.  

We are proud that U.S. President Joe Biden himself underscored the importance of tackling emissions in international shipping and the Green Shipping Challenge by mentioning both in his official COP27 address.  

We’re bringing leaders in shipping decarbonization together. On Saturday, we teamed up with our partners Transport & Environment and the Smart Freight Centre to facilitate an official side event on regional policy approaches to achieve zero-emission shipping.

We were particularly pleased to welcome U.S. Congresswoman Nanette Barragán, representative of the Port of Los Angeles and co-lead of the Clean Shipping Act of 2022 in the U.S. Congress, to open our event.

After welcome remarks from Rep. Barragán and a keynote address by Julie Cerqueira, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy, we moderated a panel including Dirk Weinreich, of the Climate & Economy Ministry of Germany; Bo Cerup-Simonsen, of the Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping; Christoph Wolff, of the Smart Freight Centre; and Tom Hautekiet, of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges to spotlight regional policy approaches to decarbonize shipping and freight industries, and support sustainable port communities.

Thanks to the pressure and attention you’ve helped mobilize, we and our allies have put ship pollution squarely in the public spotlight — and together we helped make it a priority on the international climate agenda. 

While we haven’t won yet, we believe we are close to tipping this industry off fossil fuels for good.