The CEOs of global shipping lines MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Wallenius Wilhelmsen, have issued a joint declaration at COP28 calling for an end date for fossil-only powered newbuilds and urging the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the global regulator, to create the regulatory conditions to accelerate the transition to green fuels.
Global temperatures are breaching critical levels, creating more frequent and devasting results. Therefore, the importance of shipping achieving IMO’s 2030, 2040, and net-zero 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) targets is very clear. The only realistic way to meet those targets for an industry that accounts for 2-3% of global GHG emissions is to transition from fossil to green fuels at scale and at pace.
Being at the forefront of introducing lower GHG emission ships underscores the CEOs’ commitment to the IMO GHG reduction objectives for 2030, 2040, and 2050. As frontrunners, the CEOs are convinced that even closer collaboration with IMO regulators will produce the effective and concrete policy measures needed to underpin the investment within maritime shipping and its ancillary industries that will enable decarbonization to occur at the pace required.
Their joint declaration calls for the establishment of four regulatory cornerstones:
- An end date for new building of fossil fuel-only vessels and a clear GHG Intensity Standard timeline to inspire investment confidence, both for new ships and the fuel supply infrastructure needed to accelerate the energy transition.
- An effective GHG pricing mechanism to make green fuel competitive with black fuel during the transition phase when both are used. This can be done by distributing the premium for the green fuels across all the fossil fuel used. With low initial volumes of green fuels any inflationary effects are minimized. The mechanism must also feature an increasing regulatory incentive to achieve deeper emissions reductions. Furthermore, beyond covering the green balance fee, revenue generated by the mechanism should go to an RD&D fund and to investments in developing countries to ensure a just transition that leaves no one behind.
- A vessel pooling option for GHG regulatory compliance where the performance of a group of vessels could count instead of only that of individual ships, ensuring investments are made where they achieve the greatest GHG reduction and thereby accelerating decarbonization across the global fleet.
- A Well-to-Wake or lifecycle GHG regulatory basis to align investment decisions with climate interests and mitigate the risk of stranded assets.
In a unprecedent action, major players of the shipping industry express their shared conviction that regulation can play a key role in mitigating the cost of the green transition as well as the risk of extreme weather events. Given the cost of climate change is far greater than the cost of the green transition they look forward to being joined by other companies.
Photo credit: iStock/ Boy Wirat