Energy Committee Examines IMO's New Global Sulfur Standards

December 10, 2019

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s opening remarks, please click here.

To watch a video of Senator Manchin’s questioning, please click here.

Washington, DC – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing to examine the upcoming implementation of the International Maritime Organization’s new global sulfur standard for marine fuels, which is set to take effect on January 1, 2020. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, highlighted the important difference these sulfur standards can have on air quality.

“As you might know West Virginia might not be on the firing line of this new ocean vessel standard, but we are concerned. It is somewhat familiar territory for me also because we have done this work already on coal plants - to cut emissions for SOx, NOx, and particulates - as you know, and we have been successful at that and let me tell you, it made a big difference in states like mine. I’ve told people before, I remember growing up, my mother would hang her clothes out and they came back a little bit dirtier then when they went out. So it did make a big difference and we all really, truly noticed it,” Ranking Member Manchin said.

Ranking Member Manchin also questioned witnesses about the increase in global emissions in 2018.

“EIA reported U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from 2018 went up for the first time since 2014. It’s primarily due to higher natural gas emissions from more extreme summer and winter weather. We are using more gas, methane, and there is a growth in transportation-related petroleum emissions. So, does the EIA expect high emissions to continue in 2019, as they have in 2018, and can you discuss the outlook for natural gas deployment and what implications it might have for emissions?” Ranking Member Manchin asked. 

“You are referring to the fact that EIA had forecasted rising emissions of 2.7% in 2018. We expect that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will decline by 1.7% in 2019 and 2% in 2020. That’s attributed to lower forecast energy consumption in 2019 and the lower demand in space cooling and the weather. Those are the major factors,” said Linda Capuano, Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

The hearing also featured testimony from the World Shipping Council, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, ClearView Energy Partners, LLC and Boston Consulting Group – Center for Energy Impact. To read their testimonies, please click here.

To watch the hearing in full, please click here.