Photo: Illustration; Photo by: Danish Shipping

Leading shipping nations press IMO to adopt more ambitious climate goals for shipping

Denmark, the United States, the United Kingdom and several other states have called on the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to introduce more ambitious climate goals for shipping by adopting climate-neutral shipping goal by 2050 as well as sub-goals by 2030 and 2040.

As disclosed, the initiative was presented at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.

Together, they launched a joint declaration with the support of a number of countries calling for shipping to be climate neutral by 2050 and stressing the importance of political action now.

Belgium, Britain, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, the Marshall Islands, Norway, Panama and Sweden also signed the maritime sector declaration.

“The shipping industry must be climate neutral by 2050 and contribute to the solution to the global climate crisis. With this initiative, Denmark and the signatory countries are sending a clear signal to our partners in the public and private sectors around the world that a greener future for shipping is both necessary but also possible. It is time to act to ensure a greener future,”  Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen noted.

With this declaration, Denmark and the other signatory countries respond to the call from more than 150 companies and organizations around the world that have signed a “Call to Action” initiative to commit to decarbonizing international shipping by 2050.

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The Call to Action initiative was developed by the Getting to Zero Coalition, a partnership between the Global Maritime Forum, the World Economic Forum, and Friends of Ocean Action. Signatories include members from the entire maritime ecosystem including shipping, chartering, finance, ports, and fuel production. 

The global net-zero by 2050 call was also backed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres who appealed for increased climate ambitions for shipping, which account for almost three per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and are expected to increase significantly if no action is taken now. 

It is therefore time to set a clear goal to ensure that the shipping industry is climate neutral by 2050, Guteress pointed out.

In 2018, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) set an ambition for shipping to reduce its GHG emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008. For maritime leaders, this was an important first step, but given technological developments and the latest climate science, it is now time to set a clear target for the shipping industry to be run entirely on net-zero energy sources by 2050.

Denmark and other countries have committed to work on getting more countries to join the declaration as an important step in achieving broader support for the 2050 goal.

COP26 – last chance to keep climate goals alive

On 1 November, around 120 leaders from around the world came together in Glasgow to attend a two-week COP26 to help determine whether humanity can drive forward the urgent action needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

The summit brought the major emitting countries face to face with the countries most vulnerable to climate change. The negotiations were centered around new commitments on consigning coal to history, electric cars, reducing deforestation and addressing methane emissions.

Furthermore, discussions were made on how the countries most vulnerable to climate change can access the finance needed to deliver climate adaptation and boost green recovery from the pandemic. 

The science is clear that the window of time we have to keep the goal of 1.5℃ alive , and to avoid the worst effects of climate change, is closing fast. But with political will and commitment, we can, and must, deliver an outcome in Glasgow the world can be proud of,” COP President Alok Sharma said, addressing leaders at the first major global gathering since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Further to the commitment to mobilise finance, the opening of COP26 saw several new finance announcements to progress action on the $100 billion investment and address adaptation finance.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a funding package to support the rollout of sustainable infrastructure and revolutionary green technology in developing countries.

The announcement comes two weeks after the UK government launched its landmark net-zero strategy, outlining measures to lower its reliance on fossil fuels and transition to a green and sustainable future.

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