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International Chamber of Shipping calls for increased decarbonisation effort in shipping, but says it can only be achieved if net zero is the goal

The International Chamber of Shipping announced at the start of October that its members and it agreed that shipping should reach net zero emissions by 2050. This gives plenty of room for vessels to continue to emit CO2 and other greenhouse gases providing that the CO2 emissions are somehow trapped elsewhere. While the argument for absolute zero may be a worthy goal, namely that ships do not emit any greenhouse gases from funnels, ICS has argued that such a goal will prevent progress.



A late paper submission to the next meeting of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee has said that proposals from some member states for an absolute emission goal by 2050 is impractical and

Under the current set of goals agreed by IMO member states the work that the committee is undertaking would aim to cut total GHG emissions form international shipping y at least 50% by 2050 (based on 2008 levels).

There are proposals submitted to the IMO for discussion in November that this ambition should be ramped up to be absolute zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.



ICS points to what it sees as a difference between how the IMO (and proposals for absolute zero) is talking and the UNFCCC and IPCCC which talk about achieving net zero emissions in the coming years. The shipping group quotes the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero campaign which is mobilising “ a coalition of leading net zero initiatives.”

Net Zero, sometimes referred to as carbon neutrality, relies on industrial actions to remove CO2 and other greenhouse gases form the atmosphere and either sequestered or reused, which for shipping could mean the development of new fuels. Carbon Capture Storage and utilisation has been around for many years but has not proven itself at scale.



In the IMO submission ICS says “Notwithstanding the huge enormity of this challenge, with the necessary commitment from governments and all other relevant stakeholders, plus a credible plan for delivery, a net zero carbon ambition could be achievable by 2050. But only provided that the Organization takes the necessary decisions to manage this process within a global regulatory framework.



If the Organization does not adopt the necessary measures, including approval at this session of the International Maritime Research Fund, ICS fears that adoption of a net zero goal will be perceived by the World as an empty gesture, damaging confidence in the Organization’s leadership on GHG reduction issues.”

THE IMRF proposal as amended by ICS, would see a 10-year fund created built on revenue raised from a $2 per tonne fuel and gasoil contribution from shipowners. The money would be funnelled into shipping decarbonisation research and development.



This is not to be confused with the additional plans for a market-based measure for shipping., which revolve around levy’s and trading schemes, and the potential negative impact these may have on developing countries.

Proposals have also been submitted by ICS and others to begin the likely heated debates about a market-based-measure, one that would also help funnel decarbonisation efforts under the mid term and long term strategy of the IMO.


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