L.A. City Council adopts resolution calling for transition to 100% zero-emission shipping at port of Los Angeles by 2030

November 10, 2021

Resolution also requires support for legislation or administrative action to rapidly decarbonize the maritime shipping industry

LOS ANGELES — Today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to adopt Councilmember Nithya Raman’s resolution (Council File 21-0002-S175) calling on Los Angeles’ top maritime importers to commit to making all port calls to the San Pedro Port Complex, which includes the Port of Los Angeles, on 100% zero-emissions ships by 2030. The resolution also requires support for legislation or administrative action to rapidly decarbonize the maritime shipping industry and to create zero-emission shipping corridors along the California coast, the West Coast of the United States, and across the trans-Pacific trade route. Los Angeles is the first city in the U.S. to adopt such a resolution.

The international shipping industry’s pollution is on the rise and is expected to comprise 17% of global carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 without urgent action. As home to the largest port in the nation, Los Angeles receives 40% of all containerized cargo imports to the United States coming through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, making the surrounding communities – which are primarily communities of color – particularly vulnerable to harmful pollutants. Los Angeles and Long Beach port-adjacent communities experience up to eight years lower life expectancy than the Los Angeles County average and the highest risk of cancer regionally.

“The unseen consequences of allowing the shipping industry to continue operating as is, should give us all pause,” said Councilmember Raman. “Communities living near ports are suffering from higher rates of childhood asthma, cancer, and more. In fact, ship pollution contributes to an estimated 1,300 premature deaths annually in Los Angeles and Long Beach alone. These numbers are simply unacceptable, and this resolution is a first step towards acknowledging that we must do everything in our power to create healthy, breathable port communities.”

In response, the Ship It Zero coalition, which is co-led by Pacific Environment and Stand.earth, issued the following statement:

“For months now, over 100 fossil-fueled cargo container ships have been idling off the shores of the San Pedro Bay Ports, polluting the communities of San Pedro, Wilmington, and West Long Beach with elevated levels of cancer-causing air pollution,” said Dawny’all Heydari, Ship It Zero Campaign Lead, Pacific Environment. “By calling for 100% zero-emissions shipping at the Port of Los Angeles this decade, Los Angeles City Council is taking a historic stand for the health, dignity, and longevity of Angelenos who live near ports. Now, Walmart, Target, Amazon, IKEA, and other top import polluters must respond with plans to immediately decarbonize their maritime shipping at the Port of Los Angeles.”

The Ship It Zero campaign is calling on some of the nation’s largest maritime importers — including Amazon, Target, IKEA, and Walmart — to transition to 100% zero-emissions cargo shipping vessels by 2030. This goal will ensure the shipping industry does its fair share in helping to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius, the target scientists say is needed to avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis.