Shipping industry backs $5bn decarbonisation moonshot

The global shipping industry has given "full and unequivocal" support to a "moonshot" submitted by various national governments that would create a $5bn fund to reduce the carbon impact of the sector.

Shipping industry backs $5bn decarbonisation moonshot

The plan has been submitted by governments from Georgia, Greece, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Palau, Singapore, Switzerland, who all heavily rely on the shipping sector. It would aim to accelerate the complete decarbonisation of the sector by deploying zero-carbon ships within the next decade.

It has been submitted to the UN International Maritime Organization (IMO) and would see the creation of a $5bn research fund by placing a $2 (£1.40) levy per tonne of fuel used.

The so-called moonshot has been supported by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents 80% of the global shipping industry. The fund would also support carbon reduction projects in developing countries such as the Pacific island nations.

However, green groups have moved to criticise the scheme, saying it would not ignite enough change within the sector to truly limit its carbon impact. Shipping is currently responsible for around 3% of global CO2e emissions, but researchers for the European Parliament believe this proportion could rise to 17.5% by mid-century without a step-change in approach. It is clear that businesses, nations and trade bodies all have a role to play.

The news comes after more controversy surrounding the sector late last year, when green groups and ministers expressed anger and disappointment after the IMO approved measures that will let emissions from the sector grow for another decade.

IMO 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, concerns are that it will leave loopholes for the sector as a whole to increase emissions through to 2030.

According to research from the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), emissions from the global shipping sector will grow by 14% by 2030 if the amendment is formally adopted next year. Without the amendment, the body predicts a 15% rise.

The IMO’s overarching long-term climate target is to halve emissions from the sector, against a 2008 baseline, by 2050. The IICT claims that a 15% decrease in emissions will be needed by 2030 if the sector is to stay on track. 

Matt Mace

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