With the global seaborne container trade valued at US$12 trillion in 2017 and the quantity of goods shipped by sea increasing from 102 metric tons in 1980 to nearly 1.83 billion metric tons by 2017, international shipping carries around 80% of global trade and accounts for 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually. Emissions are projected to grow by between 50 and 250% by 2050 if no action is taken.
At the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in late September 2019, members of the Getting to Zero Coalition–a powerful alliance representing senior leaders within the maritime, energy, infrastructure and finance sectors, supported by decision-makers from government and IGO’s–announced that they will lead the push for international shipping’s decarbonization.
The coalition will lead the push for shipping’s decarbonization with the mutual goal of having commercially viable zero-emission vessels operating along deep-sea trade routes by 2030.
“[E]fficiency measures can only keep shipping emissions stable, not eliminate them. To take the next big step change towards decarbonization of shipping, a shift in propulsion technologies or a shift to clean fuels is required which implies close collaboration from all parties. The coalition launched today is a crucial vehicle to make this collaboration happen,” says Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Møller Mærsk.
The ambition of the Getting to Zero Coalition is closely aligned with the UN International Maritime Organization’s Initial GHG Strategy. The strategy prescribes that international shipping must reduce its total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% of 2008 levels by 2050, while pursuing efforts towards phasing them out as soon as possible in this century. This will ultimately align greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping with the Paris Agreement. The coalition is committed to making this ambitious target a reality by getting commercially viable deep sea zero emission vessels powered by zero emission fuels into operation by 2030.
“Decarbonizing maritime shipping is a huge task with no simple answer, but it has to be done,” says Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell. “We intend to be part of the long-term, zero-carbon, solution by seeking out the most feasible technologies that can work at a global scale. Starting now is essential because ships built today will stay on the water for decades.”
Shipping can accelerate the broader energy transition and bring substantial development gains
The Getting to Zero Coalition may prove to be a catalyst for the broader energy transition if international shipping becomes a reliable source of demand for zero emission fuels. This can increase confidence among suppliers and translate into an increased supply of feasible zero emission fuels and thus be an important point of leverage for change across other hard-to-abate sectors.
“Climate change is a serious social and economic challenge that requires urgent action from both the public and private sectors,” said Michael Corbat, CEO of Citigroup, and Coalition member. “We are hopeful that the work of the Getting to Zero Coalition will inspire other hard-to-abate sectors to work together towards accelerating the decarbonization of their industries as global trade flows–and consequently carbon emissions–continue to rise.”
The demand for zero emission fuels derived from renewable resources has the potential to drive substantial investment in clean energy projects in developing countries with a large untapped renewable energy potential.
“The Global Infrastructure Facility stands ready to support governments in emerging markets and developing economies, along with our partner multilateral development banks, with funding and technical expertise to plan, design, and mobilize private investment in the infrastructure solutions necessary to support decarbonisation of shipping and contribute to the goals of the Getting to Zero Coalition,” said Jason Lu, Head of the Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF).
Source: Global Maritime Forum