Decarbonizing the United States (U.S.) maritime sector on a 1.5°C Paris-aligned timeframe will require harnessing the existing momentum of first movers, building on recent federal investments in maritime decarbonization, and creating public-private partnerships to tackle outstanding challenges in a coordinated fashion. Creative approaches to making zero-emission1 technologies and fuels commercially viable, updating workforce training and safety protocols, streamlining regulatory processes, and considering the needs of port communities in decision-making will be essential components for success.
In late 2022, Aspen Institute’s Shipping Decarbonization Initiative (Aspen SDI) commenced a workshop series to convene government, industry, and civil society organizations involved in U.S. maritime issues to: 1) build a shared understanding of current planned activities by government and private sector actors that support maritime decarbonization; 2) identify unique opportunities and challenges for U.S. maritime decarbonization leadership and innovation domestically and globally; and 3) determine policy actions, partnerships, and incentives that could further support decarbonization efforts in the U.S.
The first in-person workshop broadly explored the roles and perspectives of various federal agencies on maritime decarbonization, as well as potential partnerships between private and public sectors in this area. The event convened over 45 U.S. maritime actors, including U.S. government (USG) officials, policy makers, Jones Act fleet representatives, environmental justice advocates and environmental organizations, port representatives, industry groups, energy producers, and supply chain partners.
Based on input from the inaugural event, Aspen SDI convened two additional virtual workshops in May 2023 to focus more deeply on challenges and opportunities for decarbonizing port infrastructure, establishing domestic maritime green shipping corridors (maritime GSCs), and building zero-emission vessels in the U.S.3
The virtual meetings convened U.S. maritime actors, including USG officials, Jones Act fleet representatives, environmental justice advocates, environmental organizations, port representatives, shipyard representatives, industry groups, and members of the maritime supply chain.
The workshop on May 10, 2023, included two sessions focused on: 1) permitting and financing of resilient port infrastructure and zero-emission port equipment and technology; and 2) identifying and advancing opportunities for establishing domestic maritime GSCs. The workshop on May 16, 2023, focused on designing, building, launching, and operating zero-emission vessels in the U.S., as well as workforce development in the U.S. shipbuilding sector.