The United States will join an effort by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in the global shipping industry, climate envoy John Kerry announced on Tuesday ahead of a climate leaders summit President Joe Biden will host this week.

“I want to announce that in support of the global effort to keep us in reach of 1.5 degrees Celsius and in support of global efforts to achieve net zero by no later than 2050, the United States is committing to work with countries in the IMO to adopt the goal of achieving net zero emissions from international shipping by no later than 2050,” he told a conference hosted by the Ocean Conservancy.

The global sector emits 1 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, according to the Ocean Conservancy, on par with Germany’s annual emissions.

The United States, along with Saudi Arabia, had been one of the two countries to issue a formal “reservation” on the IMO’s initial greenhouse gas strategy.

Kerry told the conference that the United States will help deploy the technologies needed to rapidly reduce the sector’s emissions, which he said are “known to us” that require investment to scale up.

European Union and British officials sent a letter to Biden in March urging the United States to address shipping emissions in its forthcoming climate plan under the 2015 Paris agreement and that responsibility for all ship emissions be split between the country of origin and country of destination.

The United States is expected to announce its new goal, known as a Nationally Determined Contribution, as soon as Wednesday ahead of the summit.

The Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental group based in Washington, called on the Biden administration to commit to its own zero-emissions goal by 2035, saying that under international law the country can require all ships docking at domestic ports adhere to a clean shipping standard.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Leslie Adler, Marguerita Choy and Jonathan Oatis)

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