With a stroke of his pen, President Biden can take meaningful executive action to eliminate shipping emissions, help save lives, advance environmental justice and create good-paying union jobs. We urge the president to issue an Executive Order to accelerate our transition to zero-emission shipping in the United States and abroad. In a letter sent to President Biden on World Maritime Day last September, 45 organizations called for an Executive Order to decarbonize maritime shipping. There are a number of presidential actions that could streamline our path to zero-emission ships.

Here are seven that we have recommended:

  1. Establishing a goal-based fuel standard for ships calling on U.S. ports
  2. Eliminating in-port ship emissions by 2030, establishing a monitoring, reporting, and verification mechanism to collect fuel consumption and emissions data from all ships that traverse U.S. waters and use U.S. ports
  3. Building a baseline for emissions management;
  4. Funding the electrification and quieting of the U.S. federal ferry and harbor craft fleet;
  5. Supporting U.S. shipbuilders and maritime stakeholders to build low- and zero-emission and quiet marine vessels;
  6. Supporting the development, demonstration, and value chains of zero-emission alternative fuels and technologies for the maritime sector; and,
  7. Phasing out and banning the use of sulfur scrubbers on ships in U.S. waters.

Shipping emissions are harming portside communities. Ship and port pollution threaten port neighbors that are breathing toxic pollution and facing environmental racism and economic insecurity. Shipping’s impact on climate change and our environment is huge. If shipping were a country, it would be the sixth largest climate polluter and shipping spews 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere annually.

We are working with schools, grassroots organizations and our supporters to take action and ask that President Biden sign an Executive Order for zero-emission ships and ports today!