Britain calls for net zero global shipping emissions by 2050

UK wants International Maritime Organisation to double green targets


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Britain, the host of this year’s Cop26 environment summit, called for net zero global shipping emissions by 2050 on Monday, as the country looks to clean up the industry at a faster pace.

While international regulations require the global shipping industry to cut its emissions by 50 per cent compared with 2008 levels, the UK Chamber of Shipping wants the International Maritime Organisation to double this target and commit to net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

"Taking action now allows us to lead the charge on this global shift, creating highly skilled jobs for British workers and shaping the landscape for what clean shipping and trade will look like for future generations,” said UK transport secretary Grant Shapps.

The government launched what it describes as the “greenest ever” London International Shipping Week on Monday, as it looks to build on initiatives aimed at slashing emissions and establishing the UK as an international leader in green maritime transport.

The UK’s backing of a world-leading absolute zero target for international shipping emissions by 2050, which needs to be agreed through the International Maritime Organisation, would be a significant increase of ambition for the sector, which is currently accountable for 3 per cent of global emissions.

This week, Mr Shapps will also reassert the importance of building a thriving maritime sector focused on innovation, highlighting his ambition to have zero emission vessels entering into commercial service by 2025, which opens the possibility for cleaner and greener channel crossings in the next decade.

These initiatives follow commitments outlined in Britain’s Transport decarbonisation plan, which explored the establishment of a UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions, a dedicated unit within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector.

“As a maritime nation with a rich history, and host of COP26 this year, we are proud to be at the forefront of the greener era for maritime, charting an international course for the future of clean shipping,” Mr Shapps said.

Bob Sanguinetti, chief executive of the UK Chamber for Shipping, said the organisation wanted be at the forefront of the green agenda and now is the time to call for radical action.

"The aim of cutting shipping's emissions by 50 per cent just doesn't go far enough,” Mr Sanguinetti said.

“We need to show the world we mean business and it is imperative that the IMO commits to a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

"The shipping industry is one of the cleanest ways of moving goods around the world, but we know we need to do more to cut our emissions."

Updated: October 07, 2021, 11:56 AM