IMarEST Fellow to lead on shipping in UN High-Level Climate Champion team

Press Release: Katharine Palmer CSci CMarSci FIMarEST, an esteemed Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) and the co-chair of its Technical Leadership Board, has been appointed as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) High-Level Climate Champion’s (HLCC) Shipping Lead to support the shipping industry’s drive towards decarbonisation.


The two champion roles were created in 2015 at the climate talks in Paris to help achieve ambitions to lower carbon emissions and build resilience to climate change. Each role is held for two years, with Nigel Topping – the current UK government champion – serving alongside Chilean champion Gonzalo Munoz. Their work builds on the legacy of their predecessors to engage with non-state actors and mobilise stronger and more ambitious climate action to encourage a collaborative shift across society.


As the HLCC’s Shipping Lead for the UK champion team, Katharine’s primary focus will be to muster industry commitment and action needed to achieve 5% zero-carbon fuels in international shipping by 2030, as outlined in the UNFCCC Climate Action Pathway.


Katharine has more than 20 years of experience in the shipping industry and is a recognised industry sustainability expert and established thought leader concerning climate change, decarbonisation and the energy transition in the maritime sector. She utilises this expertise to advise the strategic direction of the IMarEST’s technical activities as the co-chair of the Institute’s Technical Leadership Board (TLB).


The TLB is charged with overseeing the Institute’s technical output, driving the research and industry agendas and outlining where the IMarEST could have an influence­ in regulation and policy. It identifies and establishes clear technical views on current and emerging marine engineering, science and technology matters while monitoring the work of the Institute’s special interest groups and working groups.


Katharine Palmer, newly appointed HLCC Shipping Lead, said: “This is a really exciting time to be joining the push to make zero-emission vessels commercially viable, safe and sustainable by 2030, setting shipping on course for zero by 2050. Shipping is integral to decarbonising global supply chains and by putting shipping centre stage at COP26 and showcase private sector action we can be a catalyst for decarbonising supply chains around the globe. I look forward to engaging with networks and organisations across the world to make this a reality.” 


Gwynne Lewis, IMarEST Chief Executive said: “As an IMarEST Fellow and co-chair of our Technical Leadership Board, Katharine’s appointment highlights the exemplary work of our Fellows and the need for thought leaders such as herself to be at the helm as we guide the shipping sector towards safe decarbonisation as part of COP26 and beyond. I would like to congratulate Katharine on this prestigious appointment and wish her all the best in accelerating the race to zero carbon.”

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