Los Angeles Port Agrees to Monitor Greenhouse Gases

Trucks enter the gates of the Port of Los Angeles (Photo: Port of LA – Left)

LOS ANGELES, California, December 17, 2007 (ENS) – The Los Angeles Harbor Commission on Thursday approved an agreement with the Port of Los Angeles to “identify and reduce” some of the greenhouse gases generated at the port at the same meeting that it approved a proposal to increase ship calls by 30 percent at one of the West Coast’s largest shipping terminals.

The increase will add 1,800 daily truck trips to an overburdened neighboring area where residents have complained of unbreathable air for years.

The commission hearing at Banning’s Landing Community Center in Wilmington drew about 200 people.

The panel voted 4 to 0 to certify the environmental impact report for the $1.5 billion upgrade at the TraPac Terminal.

California Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. is seeking to balance that traffic increase with new requirements that the Port of Los Angeles monitor and report its greenhouse gas emissions.

“This path breaking agreement calls for several important steps that will identify and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with maritime operations at the Port of Los Angeles,” Attorney General Brown told a December 7 news conference with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Brown and Villaraigosa told reporters the policy is specifically meant to address the global warming impact of the TraPac terminal expansion.

Under the agreement, the port will conduct a comprehensive inventory of port-related greenhouse gases, tracking these emissions from their foreign sources to domestic distribution points throughout the United States.

The port will annually report this data to the California Climate Action Registry, a program which gathers baselines emissions data about greenhouse gases generated in California.

The port will track:

* Emissions of all ships bound to and from the Port of Los Angeles terminals, encompassing points of origin and destination

* Emissions of all rail transit to and from Port terminals, encompassing major rail cargo destination and distribution points in the United States

* Emissions of all truck transit to and from Port terminals, encompassing major truck destinations and distribution points

“Today’s agreement demonstrates the commitment of the City and Port of Los Angeles to take specific and concrete steps to fight global warming,” Brown said.

Under the agreement the Port will construct a 10 megawatt photovoltaic solar system to offset about 17,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually.

The Port also is adopting a program to use electricity, rather than fossil fuels, to power ocean-going vessels when in port.

Ocean-going vessels alone emit more carbon dioxide, CO2, emissions than any nation in the world except the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India and Germany.

These emissions are projected to increase nearly 75% during the next 20 years.

“Imports of foreign goods are a growing source of greenhouse gas emissions,” which totals the equivalent of nearly all the emissions from the State of California annually, the attorney general said.

“The need for action to combat climate disruption is urgent,” said Brown.

He quoted Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chief of the Noble Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who said, “If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that while industrialized countries account for about 80 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, the poorest nations will suffer the most severe consequences of climate change.

Increased flooding from glacier melting could reduce freshwater availability for Central, South, East, and South-East Asia, potentially harming more than a billion people by 2050.

“Disruption of freshwater access in Africa could decrease agricultural production and may threaten up to 250 million people by 2020,” Brown said. “Latin America will likely see a drop in crop productivity due to global warming, leading to an increased risk of starvation.”

View This Story On Eco-mmunity Map.