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Industry heavyweights call for net-zero shipping by 2050

The shipping industry must reach zero emissions by 2050, and to get there zero-emission ships must become the dominant and competitive choice by 2030, an op-ed signed by big industry names insists.

This means that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) would need to step up and revise its decarbonization targets making the end goal more ambitious.

The goal is backed by Henriette Hallberg Thygesen, Executive Vice President, CEO Fleet and Strategic Brands at Maersk, Christian Ingerslev, CEO of Maersk Tankers, Lasse Kristoffersen, CEO of Torvald Klaveness Group and Jose Maria Larocca, Executive Director Co-Head of Oil Trading, Trafigura, among others.

“It is critical for shipping’s long-term success the International Maritime Organization and member states show progress by adopting regulation allowing shipping to decarbonize in line with the Paris Agreement,” the op-ed said.

In order to make the transition happen, the industry needs policies and regulations that would bridge the gap between affordable, widely available fossil fuels and more expensive, zero-emission fuels.

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The industry majors have called on the IMO and the member states to urgently adopt a target of full decarbonization of international shipping by 2050, when the IMO’s Initial GHG Strategy is revised in 2021 and 2022.

As explained, this would set a clear direction for the industry – a direction which has already been set for domestic emissions by many of the world’s nations including China, the EU, Japan, South Korea, the UK and the US.

As such, the IMO needs to make progress this year at MEPC 76 and 77 on meaningful market-based measures setting an adequate price on GHG emissions based on a full life cycle analysis of energy sources.

As explained, in this way the IMO would instil confidence across the maritime value chain that such measures will enter into force in 2025 and make the transition to zero-emission shipping investable at scale.

The required price on GHG emissions from international shipping needed to reach 5% zero-emission fuels by 2030 can be reduced if the generated revenue from such measure is used to support the deployment at scale of zero-emission vessels and fuels. This would also help de-risk first movers and make investments in zero-emission vessels and fuel production possible.

One such measure being discussed at the IMO is the $5 billion Maritime Research Fund that would be collected over the 10 to 15 years life of the program via a mandatory contribution of $2 per tonne of fuel oil consumed.

Finally, part of these funds could be used to support climate-vulnerable countries as well as to support the development and deployment of economically viable zero-emission fuels and technologies in developing countries.