Monthly Archives: September 2023

The commitment goes on: MARPOL’s 50th anniversary and EDF’s multi-disciplinary approach to shipping decarbonization

By Dana Rodriguez

Today marks the celebration of World Maritime Day. This year’s theme — ‘MARPOL at 50 — Our commitment goes on’. This theme spotlights the 50th anniversary of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, and encourages discussions on the next phase of the International Maritime Organization’s work to promote a just transition to sustainable shipping.

The MARPOL Convention was adopted in response to a series of tanker accidents in 1976 and 1977 that caused millions of gallons of fuels to spill into our oceans. Since 1973, MARPOL has evolved into a fundamental aspect of the international framework for protecting oceans, and today, it covers the prevention of pollution from ships to the marine environment.

In keeping with the theme of Maritime World Day, Environmental Defense Fund is reflecting on its global shipping work one year into its consultative status at the IMO. Through engagement, collaboration and an array of scientific research, EDF has been a strong proponent of ambitious decarbonization targets, and of implementing solutions to achieve those targets in an equitable and just manner. The organization also advocates for specific mandates to adopt alternative means of propulsion and non-fossil-based fuels for the shipping sector to contribute to limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, in alignment with the Paris Agreement.

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Pennsylvanians want climate action; methane offers an opportunity for Gov. Shapiro to deliver

Marcellus shale gas-drilling site along PA Route 87, Lycoming County.

Marcellus shale gas-drilling site along PA Route 87, Lycoming County.
Photo courtesy of Nicholas A. Tonelli

By John Rutecki

As we wrap up a summer of sweltering heat waves and dangerous air quality, new poll results show strong majorities of Pennsylvanians want action to address the climate crisis. The poll from EDF Action, Earthworks Action Fund, Sierra Club and Clean Air Task Force Action found that the majority of Pennsylvanians support one of the best ways to slow the current rate of warming — cutting methane pollution.

Methane from fossil fuel operations, agriculture and other industries is responsible for at least 30% of current warming.

With the U.S. EPA finalizing its nationwide methane rule for oil and gas producers this fall, Gov. Shapiro has the opportunity to give the majority of Pennsylvanians what they want by delivering a strong state implementation plan to reduce methane emissions.

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Posted in General, Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

New York utility regulator approves a first-of-its-kind certified gas pilot program. Now what?

Con Edison East River Generating Station

The New York Public Service Commission recently approved a certified natural gas pilot program proposed by Con Edison, the gas and electric utility for much of New York City. Under the pilot, Con Edison may pay a premium for limited amounts of natural gas that is purportedly certified as having lower methane emissions than the gas Con Ed typically purchases to serve its customers. Methane, the principal component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Research shows that a rapid, full-scale effort to reduce methane emissions — including from the oil and gas industry — could slow the current rate of warming by as much as 30%.

There are several reasons to be skeptical about whether this scheme delivers real environmental benefits and if it is worth the premium price Con Ed will pay, and ultimately pass along to customers. This pilot program should make good progress in answering these questions.

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Posted in Methane regulatons / Comments are closed

Interim Solutions needed while New York Public Service Commission moves forward on longer term truck charging infrastructure programs

By Pamela MacDougall and Cole Jermyn

UPDATE: Since the publication of this blog post on April 27, 2023, the New York Public Service Commission has made meaningful progress within its new Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure proceeding. The PSC accepted comments on its initial questions from several dozen parties including EDF, and technical conferences are expected this fall. Despite this, the proceeding will likely continue into next year, leaving many early adopter fleets without sufficient access to charging infrastructure and potentially setting the state behind on its electrification goals. With deadlines from the Advanced Clean Trucks rule and emissions reductions goals from the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act rapidly approaching, now is the time to kickstart the deployment of truck and bus charging infrastructure in New York. The state must implement interim solutions while the PSC continues to move forward. Primarily, changes can be made to the medium- and heavy-duty make-ready pilot program by expanding its eligibility to be more accessible to different types of fleets, depot owners and repair shops. Additionally, the program’s budget can be expanded, as the Commission’s Staff has already proposed. The Commission must also work with its sister agencies including the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Department of Transportation to support near-term deployments of charging infrastructure. Not only will these solutions help provide the charging infrastructure that fleets need now, but the PSC will have the learnings it needs to have a full-scale medium- and heavy-duty charging program in the future. Environmental Defense Fund commends the PSC for the progress made so far on the proceeding and is looking forward to working with the commission to ensure no time is wasted in deploying necessary charging infrastructure improvements.  

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Posted in Electric Vehicles, New York / Comments are closed