U.S., Canada, Mexico agree to maritime green freight corridors

On January 12, the U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to develop a clean hydrogen market in North America at the conclusion of the North American Leaders’ Summit. The countries “committed to combatting the climate crisis” by working together in six areas, including methane emissions reduction, electric vehicle chargers and hydrogen.

According to the White House fact sheet, the nations would commit to: “Developing a North American clean hydrogen market, including potential cooperation on research and development, safety codes and standards, cross-border hydrogen clusters, green freight corridors, and integrated maritime operations.”

“We are encouraged by the trilateral agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico and applaud the inclusion of maritime and green freight corridors. We call for an acceleration of shipping decarbonization consistent with a 1.5-degree C pathway and elimination of in-port ship emissions by 2030,” said Allyson Browne, Climate Campaign Manager for Ports at Pacific Environment.

Funding for sustainable port infrastructure development is vital to decarbonizing the ocean shipping and freight industries at large. In addition to investing in new clean energy resources, we must stop fossil fuel development and infrastructure, including LNG. To support the production of green hydrogen, we also must dedicate funds to develop additional renewable energy resources so that hydrogen production does not divert the grid’s clean energy supply.

Ocean shipping emits 1 billion metric tons of CO2 every year – and on its current trajectory, maritime trade could grow by as much as 150% by 2050 over today’s trade volume. Absent swift action to decarbonize the industry, shipping emissions will derail concerted efforts to mitigate climate change and achieve the goals set forth by the Paris Agreement.

This announcement comes on the heels of the COP27 Summit, where the UN secretary general warned that humanity is on a “highway to climate hell.” At the summit, there were a number of important green shipping announcements, including the launch of the Green Shipping Challenge, which encourages governments, ports and private sector companies to prepare commitments to spur the transition to green shipping. And, more than 40 major announcements addressing innovations for ships, expansion in low- or zero-emission fuels, and policies to help promote the uptake of next-generation vessels.

President Biden reinforced the imperative to tackle emissions from the shipping sector during his presidential remarks at COP. He called on leaders to step up and accelerate action to “permanently bend the emissions curve … That’s the duty and responsibility of global leadership.”

Photo credit: iStock/ Crystal Calla

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