West Coast Governors Sign Climate Pledge Covering Ports and Shipping

port of LA
Hydrogen-fueled drayage trucks at the Port of LA, 2021 (Port of LA)

Published Oct 6, 2022 5:18 PM by The Maritime Executive

California Governor Gavin Newsom, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and British Columbia Premier John Hogan have agreed to cooperate to promote zero-carbon shipping and to decarbonize port operations. The West Coast region has some of the most accelerated decarbonization initiatives in North America for shoreside industries, and the cooperative pledge recognizes the parallel effort to reduce emissions from the region's seaports.

"Our collective efforts can help our ports achieve their emissions goals while maintaining a competitive edge globally and ensuring a continued race to the top within the region," the governors pledged in a statement. "They are world-leading examples of ambitious plans and agreements to decarbonize and modernize their land-based operations, technologies, and logistics, and to catalyze emissions reductions from ships."

The cooperative agreement calls for regional talks with ports and local governments about how to achieve decarbonization. This includes specific measures like battery-electric drayage and cargo handling equipment, investments in shore power, strategies for encouraging zero-carbon shipping, and dialogue with shippers to encourage uptake of green alternatives in the supply chain. 

“While this agreement is a positive step forward, we’re disappointed that it doesn’t include specific mandates for implementation," said Teresa Bui, State Policy Director for Climate at Pacific Environment. "We look forward to working with these jurisdictions and their ports to more rapidly reduce ship pollution and achieve 100 percent zero-emission shipping by 2040.” 

Pacific Environment noted that the recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act includes $3 billion in funding to reduce air pollutions at seaports, which West Coast states may be able to tap to accelerate decarbonization projects. 

The new language on ports and maritime emissions is part of a broader West Coast climate agreement signed in San Francisco on Thursday. Other elements include pledges to invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and a decarbonized electrical grid. 

“This is not about electric power,” Gov. Newsom said at the signing ceremony. “This is about economic power. This is about dominating the next big global industry.”