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Letter of Commissioner Sola to President Joe Biden

Federal Maritime Commissioner Louis E. Sola wrote the President on November 7, 2023 regarding policies to incentivize decarbonization.

Text of the letter:

Dear Mr. President: 
The maritime industry is challenged by the lack of policies incentivizing decarbonization. The “Energy Efficiency and Decarbonization Technical Guide” outlines the Maritime Administration’s efforts to tackle the barriers of decarbonization. Although work is underway to achieve carbon-zero emissions, there is substantial need for leadership and financial assistance in the industry to reach ambitious targets for eliminating ship carbon emissions.  
I believe our industry needs an alternate marine fuel coalition comprised of expert individuals to determine the appropriate standards and benchmarks for seeking progress in decarbonization. Both the private sector and government play a vital role in the efforts towards decarbonization. The marine fuel coalition would be a private sector undertaking, while the government highlights the need for such leadership, therefore I am calling for an alternate marine fuels challenge.  
Many of the world’s leading shipping companies are responding positively to the 2050 zero emissions initiative set forth by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Companies are determining what fuels they will adapt to replace bunker oil while others order newer ships that burn cleaner fuels. Nonetheless, the IMO’s 2050 initiative lacks specific standards and benchmarks for zero-carbon emissions. The industry needs a comprehensive emissions strategy to increase coordination among key actors and acquire funding resources to achieve a carbon-free shipping strategy. 
The appropriate role for the U.S. government is to provide financial support and incentives necessary for adoption of sustainable fuels in the shipping industry. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration received more than fifteen billion dollars for airport infrastructure and sustainability projects. This should be a model for the maritime industry to replicate and further include ports and landside providers of shipping related services.  
This is a critical moment for the maritime industry to collate for a paradigm shift in cleaner burning vessel fuels. The maritime industry needs an alternate marine fuels coalition to tackle the barriers of decarbonization. Your administration can contribute to global sustainability by assisting companies in this sector to transition to lower emission technologies and sustainable fuels. The maritime industry must not be excluded from alternative fuels.  

Louis E. Sola

Louis E. Sola is a Commissioner with the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission. The thoughts and comments expressed here are their own and do not necessarily represent the position of the Commission.