Maritime Industry Meets to Discuss Progress Towards Decarbonization

maritime industry discusses decarbonization initatives
File photos courtesy of the IMO

Published Sep 7, 2020 8:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

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 according to the Getting to Zero Coalition, an industry-led forum. While they believe that momentum is building around shipping’s decarbonization efforts, research presented during the group’s recent working session highlighted that the International Maritime Organization goal of reducing international shipping’s emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030, will not be enough to prevent shipping’s adverse impact on the climate.

Announced at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York in September 2019, the Getting to Zero Coalition now counts more than 150 member organizations. The members recently met to discuss their initiatives and review the shipping industry’s goals and process towards reducing emissions. 

“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.”

To meet the ambition of having commercially viable zero-emission vessels operating along ocean trade routes by 2030, discussions at the recent working session reveal several key issues that the members felt would be critical to achieving the goals. Among the elements they discussed was the need to develop policies, demand drivers, and funding mechanisms to motivate and de-risk first-mover investments. They also believed it will be important to adopt policy instruments and market-based measures to close the competitiveness gap between conventional and zero emission fuels and associated infrastructure.

”The decarbonization of shipping and its energy value chains represents a large-scale systemic challenge and opportunity. This working session has proven that it will require close collaboration and collective action between the maritime, energy, infrastructure, and finance sectors, with support from government and international organizations. Members of the Getting to Zero Coalition represent the breadth and width that is required, and we invite others who share our bold ambition to join them,” says Kristian Teleki, Director, Friends of Ocean Action.

The members also highlighted the need to explore and narrow down technologies, fuel options, and transition pathways to focus the industry’s drive to achieve the decarbonization goals. They believe that there is a need to identify and grasp the global opportunities for green energy projects that can propel maritime shipping’s decarbonization.

“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.

At the working session’s closing plenary, Nigel Topping, High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26 said: “The shipping ecosystem could well get to COP26 in Glasgow as an example of how to create a zero emission future and work together around decarbonization. I look forward to seeing how other industries can learn from you and join the race to zero. We have a challenging but inspiring year ahead of us.”