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As US President Joe Biden visited Seattle on Earth Day (Friday, 22 April), environmental activists held rallies in the nearby port as well as in Long Beach and Bellingham in support of their calls for a green shipping corridor between Seattle and Busan – and a Committee of the Long Beach City Council introduced a zero-emissions shipping resolution.

The resolution introduced by the Climate Action and Environmental Committee of the Long Beach City Council is calling on major retail companies to adopt zero-emissions shipping by 2030 – in line with a similar move by the Los Angeles City Council last year.

The environmentalists’ rallies, led by the Ship It Zero coalition, focused on what they described as retail giant Target’s ‘outsized role in ocean shipping pollution and the impacts on climate, oceans, and the health of port communities locally and worldwide’. 

In a statement issued on Friday, Dawny’all Heydari, Lead of the Ship It Zero Campaign at Pacific Environment, commented: ‘Target’s reliance on the dirtiest fuel in the market for its ocean shipping is poisoning the retailer’s Long Beach and Los Angeles customers. 

‘We call on Target to be a good neighbour here in Southern California and commit to 100% zero-emissions ocean shipping this decade, within months, as the IPCC projects that it is “now or never” in order to avert catastrophic climate scenarios.’

On a more positive note, Ship It Zero said that it welcomed President Biden’s announcement made late Thursday at the Our Ocean Conference to provide additional funding to zero-emissions shipping and establish a framework for green shipping corridors through the Mission Innovation initiative.

Meanwhile, Cindy Allen, Long Beach City Council Member, District 2, also welcomed the green shipping corridors project, but also called for further action.

‘What happens out at sea hardly gets the attention it needs, but every day from downtown Long Beach we see the brown haze stretch out over the ocean from ships burning heavy oil at sea and diesel offshore,’ said Allen. ‘Reducing transoceanic shipping emissions is vital to addressing climate change and air quality both globally and locally.

‘Green shipping corridors are an important first step, and a key part of the holistic solution that also involves legislative advocacy to fund and implement zero emission technologies alongside bridge technologies like emissions capture to clean up our air today. As the new zero-emission solutions are aggressively rolled out, we need companies with major shipping footprints to lead the way and ship their goods using only the best available technologies.’

AMERICAS: Ship It Zero calling for Seattle-Busan green shipping corridor

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