Pacific Environment, Opportunity Green Release Ports Playbook


Pacific Environment and Opportunity Green

Published 09/20/2022 11:19 by

The Maritime Executive

In conjunction with Climate Week NYC 2022, Pacific Environment and Opportunity Green released a handbook for ports to accelerate action in the race for a zero-emission maritime future. The IPCC’s 2022 climate report has strongly warned that we must end our dependence on fossil fuels if we are to avoid the climate tipping point of 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, and that includes shipping’s contribution to global emissions and pollution ports. Now is the time to transition the shipping industry to clean energy technologies and a zero-emission future.


“Ports have a responsibility – and an economic opportunity – to become clean energy hubs and pave the way to zero-emission maritime shipping,” said Allyson Browne, Climate Campaign Manager for Ports at Pacific Environment. “Our new report sets out a 9-point framework to guide ports on solutions that will drastically reduce ship-source pollution this decade, accelerate the market for zero-emission ships and transform the industry into a 100% zero-emission future.”


If shipping were a country, it would be the sixth largest polluter in the world. Today, 50,000 ships, which transport 80% of the world’s freight, emit as much carbon dioxide as the whole of Germany. Air pollution from ships contributes to 260,000 premature deaths and 14 million cases of childhood asthma worldwide each year. By banding together and taking bold climate and public health action, ports can play a leading role in accelerating the transition to zero-emission maritime shipping this decade – and beyond.


“The United Nations shipping regulator, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), has been pondering what to do about ship emissions for over two decades, but so far has done little. By now we all know the urgency of the climate crisis,” said Aoife O’Leary, CEO of Opportunity Green. “Our new report sets out how ports and the local communities around them can take responsibility for their own transition to a low-carbon future without waiting for international action.”


The playbook kicks off with Pacific Environment’s new campaign: Ports for People. In partnership with Opportunity Green, Friends of the Earth, WWF-Mexico, we aim to end port and ship pollution. Together with local communities, allies and partners, Ports for People strives to transform ports from hotspots of fossil fuel pollution into thriving centers of sustainable economic development and environmental protection.


The playbook focuses on three main areas: Commitments, Policies, and Progress. These tracks identify nine actions that end pollution in ports, accelerate the market for zero-emission technologies, reward pioneers, and ensure reliable access to zero-emission infrastructure and fuels.


The 9 point playbook asks ports to take the following actions:


  • Commitments: Commitments to end all port pollution by ships; create or join zero-emission shipping corridors (e.g. The Clydebank Declaration and LA-Shanghai Green Shipping Corridor); and abandon all fossil fuel projects.
  • Policy: set zero emissions deadlines for all ships; reward first movers and attract the cleanest ships in the world to your port; and reduce emissions from your existing ship calls
  • Progress: electrify everything possible; Providing clean energy and reliable fueling for zero-emission cargo ships; and center community and worker oversight in your energy transition.


Ports are the hubs of world trade, but also centers of concentrated pollution from ships. Science tells us that the 2020s are the pivotal decade for climate action, and with an average ship lifespan of 20 to 30 years, the decarbonization of shipping needs to start immediately. This transition is not only necessary to reduce pollution and mitigate global temperature rise; It is also the best way for ports to ensure stable growth and profitability in a competitive industry that demands 24/7 efficiency in a climate-affected world.

The products and services described in this press release are not endorsed by The Maritime Executive.



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