Shipping and fuel giants call for government action to spur net-zero progress

Shipping accounts for 80% of global trade and 3% of greenhouse gas emissions

The organisations have signed a “Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation”, which calls for policies to be introduced that would enable the sector to decarbonise by 2050 at the latest and supported by an implementation plan when adopting the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) strategy in 2023.

The Declaration calls for more support for industrial-scale, zero-emission shipping projects by setting clear decarbonisation targets for domestic shipping and incentivising uptakes in new and emerging low-carbon technologies. The signatories are also calling for policy measures that make zero-emission shipping the “default choice” by 2030.

Signatories to the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation include  A.P. Moller – Maersk, BHP, BP, BW LPG, Cargill, Carnival Corporation, Citi, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Euronav, GasLog, Hapag-Lloyd, Lloyd’s Register, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, Olympic Shipping and Management, Panama Canal Authority, Port of Rotterdam, Rio Tinto, Shell, Trafigura, Ultranav, Volvo, and Yara.

With shipping accounting for 80% of global trade and 3% of greenhouse gas emissions, the IMO has currently tabled a strategy to reduce international shipping’s total annual emissions by at least 50% of 2008 levels by 2050. The strategy is set to be revised in 2023.

In conjunction with the UN General Assembly and ahead of critical climate negotiations at COP26 in Glasgow this November, the signatories are calling for heightened action to spur decarbonisation.

“For the world to decarbonize, shipping must decarbonize. Our customers are looking to us to decarbonize their supply chain emissions,” A.P Moller – Maersk’s chief executive of fleet and strategic brands Henriette Hallberg Thygesen said.

“We are investing significantly in the carbon-neutral emissions technologies that are readily available. To make such investments the default choice across our industry, we need a market-based measure to close the competitiveness gap between fossil and zero-emission fuels of today and the carbon-neutral fuels of tomorrow.”

Last week, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called on the global maritime sector to agree on an “absolute zero” emissions target by 2050. The call came after the Government agreed to include emissions from shipping and aviation as part of its Sixth Carbon Budget to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035.

Historically, the Government’s emissions reduction efforts only accounted for emissions on a “territorial” basis and therefore only include those within the UK’s borders, a decision that has drawn criticism from green groups.

At the IMO’s most recent meeting in November, members voted in favour of amending measures designed to limit the carbon intensity of ships. While proponents say the measures will make each ship more efficient, the general consensus is that the rule will leave loopholes for the sector as a whole to increase emissions through to 2030.

Last year, a coalition representing more than 120 large maritime, energy and infrastructure businesses has published a blueprint for bringing zero-emission shipping innovations to scale.

The Getting to Zero Coalition’s industry blueprint outlines how policy changes and targeted action from businesses and the finance sector can be made in tandem, to reduce the total costs of the world’s first commercial-scale, zero-emission shipping pilots by 30%-50%.

Matt Mace

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