It’s Wednesday, September 14, and Germany’s experiment with inexpensive public transit was a boon for the climate.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, became the third U.S. city to endorse a carbon neutrality goal for shipping last week, joining the California cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach in unanimously passing a so-called “Ship It Zero” resolution.

Minneapolis’ resolution takes aim at corporate maritime importers like Walmart, Amazon, and Ikea. It asks them to “abandon fossil-fueled ships” — most of which are contracted out by separate shipping companies — and adopt emissions-saving practices like wind-assisted propulsion and lower-speed travel. It also asks the big brands to commit to docking only zero-emissions ships by 2030 and to disclose all maritime greenhouse gas emissions in public, annual reports.

“I join the call to top maritime polluters, especially those with large footprints in Minneapolis, to commit to immediate and impactful decarbonizing efforts,” Minneapolis City Council Member Aisha Chughtai said in a statement. Although Minneapolis closed its cargo port on the Mississippi River in 2014, the city is notable for being home to the retail brand Target, a major contributor to shipping emissions.

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The international shipping industry is one of the world’s biggest climate polluters, emitting roughly 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year — more than all U.S. coal plants combined. This is partly because of the scale of international trade, 90 percent of which is facilitated by shipping, and partly because of the carbon-intensive fossil fuels that most ships still rely on. Besides greenhouse gases, fossil fuel-powered ships also generate hazardous particulate matter and sulfur oxide pollution, contributing to elevated rates of childhood asthma and cancer in communities located near ports.

Experts say that fully decarbonizing shipping will be difficult. Zero-emissions fuels like green hydrogen and ammonia are still too expensive to power a global shipping fleet. They’re also less energy-dense than fossil fuels, potentially necessitating ship redesigns for optimal storage and safety. But environmental advocates are optimistic that ongoing research, falling costs, and pressure from companies and policymakers will make the Ship It Zero goals achievable.

“I think we’ll see a race toward the top, where it’ll increasingly become an economic business imperative to decarbonize to maintain a 21st-century reputation,” Dawny’all Heydari, Ship It Zero campaign lead for the nonprofit Pacific Environment, told me.

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