Shipping industry to halve CO2 emissions
After lengthy negotiations, an agreement has been reached that the global maritime industry is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by half.
The shipping industry currently accounts for 3% of global CO2 emissions. That is the equivalent of the total CO2 emissions from Germany.
The overall aim of the agreement is that the global marine industry will commit to eliminating CO2 emissions entirely ‘as soon as possible’.
In the short term, the objective is to further enhance the energy efficiency of existing and new ocean-carriers, with the percentage improvement for each phase to be determined for each ship type. Secondly, the industry is to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% per tonne of cargo by 2030, compared to 2008 levels.
The long-term objective is to reduce CO2 emissions by half by 2050, compared to 2008.
Maria Skipper Schwenn, executive director at Danish Shipping, said that an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is crucial for shipping companies to adapt to more energy efficient operations.
"The move will send a signal through the industry that rapid innovation is now needed,” she told Danish broadcaster DR. “Ships may have to operate more slowly to burn less fuel. New designs for vessels will be more streamlined and engines will have to be cleaner, maybe powered by hydrogen or batteries, or even by the wind.”
However, some believe that the shipping industry’s direct involvement in the talks means that the agreement is not as ambitious as it could have been.
One of these people is Jens Mattias Clausen, climate change advisor at Greenpeace. He is unhappy to see that the required regulation of the shipping industry may not enter into force until 2023.
“The is a clear result of the lobbying that the shipping companies bring into the negotiations,” he told DR.
Brian Mikkelsen, the Danish Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, said that he would also like to see a more ambitious plan.
Countries such as Saudi Arabia, the USA and Brazil, along with several developing nations, have shown opposition to a more ambitious agreement.