In a series of virtual meetings hosted by the United Nations this week, nearly 200 countries are coming together in an effort to reach a legally binding agreement to cut emissions from the shipping industry.
Lara Skinner is the executive director of the Worker Institute at Cornell University and an expert on labor and employment issues related to sustainability, climate protection and economic alternatives. She says an agreement to cut shipping emissions would benefit the environment, the health of workers, and may result in more regional and local manufacturing.
“This is a really important international agreement. Some estimate that 25% of the world’s emissions come from international trade, like shipping. Ships are a very fuel- and energy-efficient way to move products but the pollution from ships burning bunker fuel is very harmful to the climate, public health — particularly for communities located near ports — and the workers on board the ships.
“Raising the emissions standards for ship fuel is a good way to reassess the cost of shipping products internationally and may push more regional and local manufacturing. I don’t expect it will have any short or medium-term impact on jobs in the shipping industry.”