Norwegian shipowners want to have climate neutral fleet by 2050

Norwegian Shipowners’ Association has unveiled a new strategy whose goal is for the entire Norwegian fleet to be climate neutral by 2050.

Illustration. Source: Flickr under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license. Image by Kees Torn

The aim of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. In February 2020, Norway committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50 per cent by 2030, compared with emissions in 1990. With this, Norway is said to be one of very few countries to set goals that support the 1.5 C degree target from the Paris Agreement.

As explained, Norwegian shipping aims to take a leading role in developing new technology and sustainable solutions to drastically reduce emissions in the years ahead.

“Climate change must be taken seriously. If we are to succeed in curbing its effects, we must act quickly,” Harald Solberg, CEO of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, pointed out.

Four proactive climate goals

Under the umbrella of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Norwegian shipping companies have taken action by adopting four ambitious goals laid out in a climate strategy.

The goals state that members will cut their GHG emissions by 50 per cent per transported unit by 2030, compared to 2008.

What is more, from 2030, Norwegian Shipowners’ Association members will only order vessels with zero-emission technology.

From 2050, the association’s members will have a climate neutral fleet.

The strategy also entails an international ban from 2050 on fuel types that are not climate neutral.

“Norwegian shipping is taking a leading role by setting ambitious goals for the development of new and profitable green technology,” Solberg added.

“We have high ambitions, even in areas that today do not have commercially available technological solutions. We believe ambitious goals will help accelerate the necessary development. This means that the entire industry, in collaboration with the authorities, both nationally and internationally, must engage in developing new solutions.”

How to reach the four climate goals?

The association has presented several measures that would help shipowners in Norway reach the ambitious goal by 2050.

The first measure is to upgrade the existing fleet in order to cut emissions. Shipowners need to explore how emission reductions can be achieved from existing ships, making them as fuel-efficient as newer vessels.

In order to succeed in eliminating GHG emissions completely, sustainable low and zero-emission fuels will be required. Members of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association need to use these fuels from an early stage and contribute to the development of infrastructure for them, as outlined in the roadmap.

The third measure calls for phasing in ships with zero-emission technology as quickly as possible and no later than 2030 to realise zero emissions from 2050. The starting point for testing new technology are the coastal ships as they have less machinery, lower energy requirements and sail within a limited area.

Moreover, operating ships as energy-efficiently as possible using voyage planning, low friction anti-fouling paint and optimised speed can contribute to further reducing emissions.

In order to ensure that actions taken by shipowners are effective, and to avoid renewal and replacement leading to increased emissions, a lifecycle perspective on both ships and fuel must be considered, the association further said.

Finally, measuring, analysing, and publishing Norwegian shipowners’ environmental and climate accounting in a consistent, relevant and transparent manner is expected to contribute to the overall goal of reducing emissions.

Good for climate, good for business

Norwegian shipping sees great business opportunities in taking leadership in the development of innovative technology that the maritime industry and the world need. At the same time as contributing to the mitigation of global warming, and providing cleaner air and healthier oceans, new and green jobs will be created, the association noted.

“We need new technology and new sustainable solutions, and development must happen quickly,” Solberg said.

“We can meet global climate targets while generating business opportunities. We have already accomplished a great deal, and now we want to do even more,” he concluded.