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Monday, September 7, 2020 

The message from the Getting to Zero Coalition’s second biannual working session, recently held remotely, is that momentum is building around shipping’s decarbonization, as proved by 66 zero emission pilots and demonstration projects, but the current IMO target to cut emissions by 40% by 2030 will not be enough to prevent shipping’s adverse impact on the climate.

Johannah Christensen, MD, Head of Projects and Programmes, Global Maritime Forum, said: “Members of the Getting to Zero Coalition are fully committed to fast-tracking shipping’s decarbonisation. I am impressed by the desire to collaborate, share learnings, and take concrete action. While members are working together to develop new technologies and business models, they call for ambitious, global regulation to set the industry on a climate-friendly course, but they are prepared to move ahead of the IMO and other regulators to ensure that scalable solutions are in place when regulation is adopted.”

Nigel Topping, High-Level Climate Action Champion for COP26 said: “The shipping ecosystem could well get to COP26 in Glasgow as an example of how to create a zero emission future and work together around decarbonisation. I look forward to seeing how other industries can learn from you and join the race to zero. We have a challenging but inspiring year ahead of us.”

Covid-19 was notably absent from the conversations at the working session. This is considered to provide confidence that the pandemic has not shifted the attention of the maritime industry away from its obligation to decarbonise. On the contrary, Covid-19 may turn out to have a positive impact on shipping’s green energy transition.

“Policymakers are uniquely positioned to accelerate the decarbonisation of shipping and other hard-to-abate sectors when deciding on policies and stimulus measures to kickstart the global economy post Covid-19. Governments can and must play an important role in building back better by incentivising the large-scale demonstration projects that are required to drive down costs and accelerate the development of zero carbon technologies,” said Christoph Wolff, Head of Shaping the Future of Mobility, World Economic Forum.

To meet the ambition of having commercially viable zero emission vessels operating along deep sea trade routes by 2030, discussions at the working session reveal the need to:

  • develop policies, demand drivers and funding mechanisms to motivate and de-risk first mover investments;
  • adopt policy instruments and market-based measures to close the competitiveness gap between conventional and zero emission fuels and associated infrastructure; 
  • explore and narrow down technologies, fuel options and transition pathways; 
  • identify and grasp global opportunities for green energy projects that can propel maritime shipping’s decarbonisation, and 
  • contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth in developing economies – while making sure no countries are left behind.

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