IEA Says Shipping Not on Track with Emissions Reductions


By The Maritime Executive 05-24-2017 09:35:21

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released its Tracking Clean Energy Progress report, saying that international shipping is not on track to meet the greenhouse gas goals of the Paris Agreement.

The report highlights the overall status and recent progress in developing and deploying key clean-energy technologies.

The shipping sector is a key enabler of international trade and constitutes the most energy-efficient way to move goods, says the IEA, but limited policy deployments have led to a slow uptake of clean technologies.

In 2013, the IMO introduced the EEDI, the first energy efficiency standard for new ships, mandating a minimum improvement in the energy efficiency per tonne kilometer of new ship. In its current form, the EEDI mandates a one percent annual improvement in the efficiency of the global fleet from 2015 to 2025. 

According to IEA statistics and United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) activity data, the energy used by the global shipping fleet per tonne kilometer declined by 2.2 percent between 2000 and 2014. This suggests that the EEDI will prevent the backsliding of energy efficiency, but not the reduction of GHG emissions beyond historical trends, says IEA. Fuel price increases due to the sulfur cap could stimulate interest in efficiency and reduce energy use, but technologies that reduce SOX emissions – except for advanced biofuels, low-carbon synthetic fuels and, to a much lesser extent, LNG – will not lower GHG emissions.

Getting on track with the 2°C Scenario requires an annual efficiency improvement of 1.9 percent MJ per vehicle kilometer (MJ/vkm), and 2.3 percent MJ per tonne kilometer (MJ/tkm) between 2015 and 2025. The IEA says this can be achieved by exploiting the efficiency improvement potential for new and current ships and the adoption of operational improvements. Efficiency technologies available today could roughly halve the average fuel consumption per vehicle kilometer of new ships. This will need to be complemented by the use of advanced biofuels.

The IEA recommends that the industry raise the ambition of the EEDI, introduce mandatory standards on operational efficiency and price GHG emissions. Long-term investment decisions will have to be taken by shipowners, operators, financiers and refiners to reduce local pollutant emissions. In the absence of rapid signals to steer these decisions towards GHG emissions reductions goals,  investments aiming only to reduce only local pollutant emissions will run serious risks to be stranded when pressure on shipping to contribute to the low-carbon transition will grow.

The report is available here.