UK launches Clean Maritime Strategy to spur net-zero ambitions

The Government is also providing an additional £7.4m in funding for universities to work together and establish a new Clean Maritime Research Hub

The Clean Maritime Plan was launched on Thursday (11 July) and builds on the Government’s Clean Air Strategy aiming to reduce pollution across all sectors in order to improve public health and protect the environment. It also builds on the Maritime 2050 strategy launched earlier this year.

Maritime Minister, Nusrat Ghani, stated: “Our maritime sector is vital to the success of the UK’s economy, but it must do everything it can to reduce emissions, improve air quality and tackle climate change.

“The Clean Maritime Plan sets an ambitious vision for the sector and opens up exciting opportunities for innovation. It will help make the UK a global hub for new green technologies in the maritime sector.”

As well as the 2025 target for zero-emissions capabilities, the Clean Maritime Plan also features a £1m competition and a call for evidence to use innovation to reduce maritime emissions.

Research referenced in the plan notes that the UK could add £510m to the economy annually by 2050 by championing maritime emissions reductions; globally, this figure could reach £11bn.

The plan also outlines intentions to work with the banking sector – fresh off the publication of the Green Finance Strategy – to facilitate investments into low-carbon shipping technology. A new green finance initiative for the sector will be launched during London International Shipping Week in September.

Already, a group of 11 big-name banks has pledged to align investments in the shipping sector with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) goal of halving emissions by 2050.

Territorial emissions

Shipping and aviation are the laggards of the climate movement, with innovation only just starting to disrupt the market. However, it remains unclear whether the UK will have to remove its “territorial” accounting process when it comes to emissions in these areas.

International aviation and shipping are currently measured on a territorial basis. Emissions in 2017 were 43% below 1990 levels, while the economy grew by two-thirds. However, if the territorial approach was replaced, it is believed that total emissions reductions are closer to 10% since 1997. The Government is yet to confirm, either through the net-zero strategy or the Clean Maritime Plan, whether territorial emissions will be included in national decarbonisation plans.

The international shipping industry is currently responsible for about 2.5% of global CO2 emissions, according to a report by the European Parliament.

Matt Mace

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie