Councilmember tightens calls for zero-emission shipping at San Pedro Bay

Cargo ships, containers, and cranes in the largest port in the western United States, the Port of Los Angeles located in San Pedro, California just west of downtown LA, California.  This image was shot from an altitude of about 1000 feet.

A Los Angeles City Councilmember has introduced a resolution calling on all ships calling at the ports of San Pedro Bay to transition to complete zero-emission shipping by 2030.

Councilmember Nithya Raman, on 5 October, called on Los Angeles’ top maritime importers including IKEA and Amazon to commit to the resolution for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The resolution also would include in the City of Los Angeles’s 2021-2022 State Legislative Program support for legislation or administrative action to rapidly decarbonise the maritime shipping industry, and to create zero-emission shipping corridors along the California coast, the West Coast of the US, and across the trans-Pacific trade route. 

Councilmember Raman’s statement noted the international shipping industry is one of the world’s largest climate polluters, emitting 1 billion metric tons of CO2 a year, more than all coal plants in the U.S. combined.

Los Angeles and Long Beach receives 40% of all containerised cargo imports to the US, and sky-high numbers of vessels waiting at anchor outside of the ports of San Pedro Bay indicate will only continue to add to overall emissions.

Councilmember Raman commented, “Pollution from ships often goes overlooked in our greater conversations on climate change, but the reality is that ship pollution contributes to an estimated 260,000 premature deaths each year globally, and at least 1,300 premature deaths annually in Los Angeles and Long Beach alone.

“Our low-income communities of colour living near ports are suffering from higher rates of childhood asthma, cancer, and more, and we simply do not have time to waste to reverse the damage.

“This resolution is one step towards ensuring we are doing everything in our power to create healthy, breathable port communities.”

Councilmember Paul Koretz added, “With the horrific oil spill in beautiful Huntington Beach, with extreme climate impacts worsening every day around the world, as we reduce the city’s emissions through our LA100 renewable energy and Climate Emergency Mobilization Office efforts, we must include every sector related to the City in our scope.

“Zero emissions shipping is essential to our success in keeping our climate safe and Los Angeles habitable for generations to come.”

The news comes as the San Pedro Bay Ports will give a progress update on the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan on 19 October.

Among other topics, the meeting will include a discussion of tariff language being developed to implement the Clean Truck Fund Rate.

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