Global shipping industry sees momentum building around decarbonization

The maritime industry’s first movers stand steadfast to take the steps needed to develop, test and scale the technologies required to decarbonize international shipping. This is the clear message coming out of the Getting to Zero Coalition’s second biannual working session since its launch one year ago. 

More than 200 representatives from Getting to Zero Coalition members convened virtually last week for the Coalition’s second biannual working session with the objective of advancing the ambition of having commercially viable zero emission vessels operating along deep sea trade routes by 2030. 

Research presented at the working session shows that the short term-ambition – adopted by members states of the International Maritime Organization in April 2018 – of reducing international shipping’s emissions per transport work by at least 40% by 2030, will not be enough to prevent shipping’s adverse impact on the climate.

“Members of the Getting to Zero Coalition are fully committed to fast-tracking shipping’s decarbonization. I am impressed by the desire to collaborate, share learnings, and take concrete action,” says Johannah Christensen, Managing Director, Head of Projects & Programmes, Global Maritime Forum. 

“While members are working together to develop new technologies and business models, they call for ambitious, global regulation to set the industry on a climate-friendly course, but they are prepared to move ahead of the IMO and other regulators to ensure that scalable solutions are in place when regulation is adopted.” 

“Policymakers are uniquely positioned to accelerate the decarbonization of shipping and other hard-to-abate sectors when deciding on policies and stimulus measures to kickstart the global economy post Covid-19. Governments can and must play an important role in building back better by incentivizing the large-scale demonstration projects that are required to drive down costs and accelerate the development of zero carbon technologies,” says Christoph Wolff, Head of Shaping the Future of Mobility, World Economic Forum.

To meet the ambition of having commercially viable zero emission vessels operating along deep sea trade routes by 2030, discussions at the working session reveal the need to: 

  • develop policies, demand drivers and funding mechanisms to motivate and de-risk first mover investments;
  • adopt policy instruments and market-based measures to close the competitiveness gap between conventional and zero emission fuels and associated infrastructure; 
  • explore and narrow down technologies, fuel options and transition pathways; 
  • identify and grasp global opportunities for green energy projects that can propel maritime shipping’s decarbonization and contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth in developing economies – while making sure no countries are left behind.

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