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International Treaties and U.S. Laws as Tools to Regulate the Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ships and Ports

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Regulations on marine greenhouse gas emissions are possible, and some are in progress, using international treaty law and federal regulations. Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOSC), port and coastal States have jurisdiction over ships entering their waters and have the ability to implement mitigation strategies, ranging from mandatory speed reduction to installing shore-side electricity or sequestration equipment. Under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is determining the feasibility of design, fuel, and operation reforms. Alternatively, the implementation may be usurped by a global cap-and-trade scheme from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tightening the Clean Air Act § 213 regulations governing marine vessels and U.S. waters were recently designated a SOx Emission Control Area. However, carbon dioxide emissions from marine vessels remain unregulated.

Affiliations: 1: University of Oregon School of Law Eugene, OR USA


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