Ministerial Roundtable UNGA Side Event
Co-hosted by the Global Maritime Forum and SPEC Office
Global Maritime Forum Annual Summit 2022
Thursday, September 22, 7:45–8:45 a.m.
Dock 72, Brooklyn Navy Yard


Raising Ambition on Shipping Decarbonization
Global Maritime Forum Annual Summit 2022
Thursday, Sept 22, 9:00 – 10:15a.m.
Dock 72, Brooklyn Navy Yard

Jane Lubchenco, Deputy Director for Climate and Environment
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Sue Biniaz, Deputy Special Envoy for Climate
Office of the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate

As prepared for delivery

Good morning! Our thanks to the Global Maritime Forum for bringing us together.

President Biden and his Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, have focused since the beginning of the Administration on keeping the 1.5-degree goal within reach. 

Shipping is a key sector for achieving this target. Emissions from the shipping sector are significant and on a trajectory that is not compatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. If shipping were a “country,” it would be the eighth largest emitter. As a result, green shipping is a priority for the United States.  You can see this priority expressed in the following recent U.S. actions:

First, we included a focus on green shipping in the Leaders Summit on Climate, when we committed to work with countries in the International Maritime Organization to adopt a goal of zero emissions from the sector no later than 2050.

Second, we were pleased to co-launch the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission to accelerate public-private collaboration.

Third, we worked with the UK, Marshall Islands, Denmark, and many other partners on shipping declarations for COP26, including the Declaration on Zero-Emission Shipping and the Clydebank Declaration to establish green shipping corridors.

Fourth, we also launched the First Movers Coalition at COP26, which seeks to harness the purchasing power of companies to decarbonize the “hard-to-abate” sectors, including shipping.

And, finally, we homed in on ocean-based climate solutions, including green shipping, as one of the major themes of the 2022 Our Ocean Conference last Spring.

As you have undoubtedly observed, many of these efforts are public-private initiatives. This reflects the simple reason that all of us will be needed to spur the transition to green shipping.

The United States is now looking to ensure that green shipping efforts are a highlight of COP27.  Toward that end, in May, Special Envoy Kerry and Prime Minister Støre of Norway announced the upcoming launch of a Green Shipping Challenge for COP27. And President Biden noted the importance of the Challenge when he convened the leaders of the Major Economies Forum in June. 

We are pleased to report that many countries publicly expressed their support for the initiative during the Major Economies Forum, including Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, and the UK, as well as the European Commission. And since that time, many others have confirmed their support and are preparing to participate in the formal launch at the COP27.

In addition, the Ocean Panel – a group of 17 ocean economies that represent half of the coastlines of the world and 20% of the shipping fleets – has just decided to support the initiative for COP27.

But this initiative is not only about countries. The Green Shipping Challenge also welcomes ports, industry, and everyone in the shipping value chain to come forward with announcements of new concrete actions at COP27 that will help put the sector on a pathway to align with the 1.5-degree goal. These announcements could focus on: production of zero-emission fuels, deployment of zero-emission vessels, investments in clean port infrastructure, the launch of specific green shipping corridors, or any other meaningful steps that might be taken to spur the near-term transition to green shipping. 

Our concept note describes the essential features of the Green Shipping Challenge and provides a list of potential announcements.  They are intended to be illustrative rather than comprehensive.  We invite your questions and engagement.

We reiterate that we welcome and encourage your participation.  We would be happy to connect our experts to further discuss this.

To be clear, we do ask that participants do two things.  First, we ask that you prepare at least one new announcement to unveil at COP27.  We would be happy for you to highlight any significant new activity that you are taking to help decarbonize the sector. Second, in the run-up to COP27, we encourage you to reach out to others – to governments, to companies, to ports – to encourage their participation as well.

The Green Shipping Challenge will officially launch at a high-level event in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November, and will feature the efforts of both leaders and executives.

We are grateful to Global Maritime Forum for organizing this session, and we look forward to hearing from you. Please let us know: How can we make the Green Shipping Challenge a success? How can we make COP27 a success?

And more broadly, how can government and industry work together to create a green future for the sector?

Thank you!


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