US Transportation Decarbonization Strategy Released
23 February 2023
Notice to: Ship Owners/ Managers/ Operators | Surveyors/Auditors
In January, the US Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and the US EPA, released the “US National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization. The blueprint is intended to outline a comprehensive strategy for decarbonizing the transportation sector that will guide future policy decisions as well as research, development, technology demonstration and deployment in the public and private sectors. As publicized, this blueprint is supposed to ‘offer a whole-of-government approach to addressing the climate crisis and meeting President Biden’s goals of a 100% clean electrical grid by 2035 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. A copy of the blueprint may be viewed and downloaded at https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2023-01/the-us-national-blueprint-for-transportation-decarbonization.pdf
As is typically the case with such a “high altitude” proposal, the blueprint describes future policies and goals in broad terms with few specific recommendations on how these goals can be reached. The blueprint states that more detailed decarbonization action plans will be published in the future. Specifically, the new blueprint identifies the following goals for the shipping industry:
a) Ensure that 5 percent of the global deep-sea fleet are capable of using zero-emission fuels by 2030.
b) Enable at least 10 large trading ports across at least three continents to supply zero-emission fuels by 2030.
c) Increase sustainable fuel R&D and incentivize U.S. commercial vessel operators to move towards lower GHG emissions.
d) Push the IMO to adopt a goal of achieving zero emissions from international shipping by 2050.
CSA has a founding member of the Blue Sky Maritime Coalition responded to press requests via a statement by the President of the coalition which was published by industry media outlets. Specifically, the comments included the following points:
a) The maritime section of the blueprint seems much less thought through than other transportation sectors, noting the blueprint is a “great start” but should be followed urgently with detailed, bold plans that include measurable actions.
b) Noting that international shipping represents half of US maritime emissions (with 30% from domestic shipping and 20% from recreational vessels), it was suggested that the report does not focus enough on reducing emissions across all ships – international, domestic, and recreational.
c) Acknowledging the blueprints recognition that it is difficult to accurately measure shipping emissions, the blueprint and future more detailed actions should seek to standardize emissions accounting across all ship types understanding emissions profiles are necessary so that vessels best suited to reduce emissions can be identified and resources allocated.
d) It is urgent that collaboration occur across all stakeholders (government, industry, NGOs, academia, communities to “craft a detailed vision and plan to achieve that vision by 2050”.