Tacoma, Wash. — The Port of Tacoma Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to phase out greenhouse gas emissions under the Port’s direct control by 2040, accelerating the target from 2050. 

The commission addressed what are called Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gases, which represent direct emissions from Port-owned and operated buildings and vehicles, and electricity purchased for Port facilities. This contrasts with Scope 3 emissions, which are from sources not directly controlled by the Port, such as cargo ships, drayage trucks, and facilities leased to private companies.  

“The Port takes seriously our commitment to the environment and clean air,” said Deanna Keller, Port of Tacoma commission president. “Accelerating our net zero emission target gives us an opportunity to demonstrate climate leadership and take action where we have direct control.” 

Strategies for Port-controlled assets include buying electric vehicles, replacing natural gas in buildings with electricity, and purchasing renewable fuels to displace fossil fuels. The Port could also purchase offset credits for remaining emissions that can’t be eliminated by other measures. Implementing the net zero policy will require a number of multi-million-dollar projects, like the Administration Building Electric Vehicle Charging Station project that the commission authorized this February.  

The Port of Tacoma’s effort is part of the regional Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy for phasing out seaport-related emissions. The Port is a Managing Member of The Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA), which manages container operations in both Tacoma and Seattle. The NWSA is responsible for many of the Scope 1 and 2 emissions that occur in the Tacoma Harbor and the NWSA’s Environmental Working Group is considering a similar acceleration of Scope 1 and Scope 2 targets. The Port of Tacoma is also working with the NWSA to reduce Scope 3 emissions through actions like the Husky Terminal Shore Power project and the South Intermodal Yard Electric Yard Tractor Project