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Press Release: Norway kick-starts collaboration on zero-carbon trade

Press Release: Norway convened a high-level panel Tuesday to boost collaboration on creating zero-carbon trade and transport sectors, as part of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. Environment ministers from Norway and the Marshall Islands will be speaking with leaders from clean-tech start-ups, regional and local government, and the largest shipping company in the world. Norway, with its long coastline, a large coastal fleet and a major international maritime industry, is at the forefront of decarbonizing maritime transport. Several US states and cities share the ambitions of zero emission transport. In a global industry like shipping, pioneering solutions being deployed in Norway, the US and elsewhere can contribute to low emission trade and development.


Norway’s Minister for Climate and Environment, Ola Elvestuen: “Zero emission shipping is possible and Norway has started the introduction of zero emission technologies in parts of domestic shipping. I encourage development of national spearhead policies for the introduction of low- and zero emission technologies all around the world.”

“Green shipping creates blue business. The introduction of low- and zero emission ferries has caused green innovation, competitiveness and jobs in the maritime sector. Larger parts of the shipping sector are inspired – emissions can be cut – companies going green will be sustained.”

Republic of Marshall Islands Environment Minister David Paul: “The deal we secured at the IMO in April was a historic first step, but there is still a lot of work to do if the shipping industry is to play its full part in ensuring a safe climate future – including by building on that deal in the years ahead. And while Governments have now set a strong marker for what is expected of the maritime industry, we need the private sector to set the bar even higher by taking advantage of the massive economic opportunities available.”

“As the second largest ship registry and one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world, the Marshall Islands understands more than most both the economic opportunities and the need to act.”

Gunn Marit Helgesen, President of the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS), Co-President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR): “By 2021 one third of Norway’s ferries will be all-electric or hybrid-electric. This is a result of cooperation between all levels of government, business and industry, research and NGOs. None of us could have obtained this alone.”

Alex Levinson, Executive Director, Pacific Environment: “The global shipping industry needs to rapidly move beyond fossil fuels if we are going to meet the Paris Agreement’s ambitious climate goals.  We are co-hosting the Climate Summit’s major shipping event to define what combination of policy and customer pressure will drive the industry to adopt zero emission solutions quickly and to scale.”

Dan Rutherford, International Council on Clean Transportation, Marine Director: “IMO’s greenhouse gas strategy is ambitious and will require 60% to 70% cuts on cumulative emissions by 2075. It’s vital that we scale up these local zero emission projects as soon as possible in order to meet IMO’s goal.”

Nate Springer, Manager, BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group: “Collaboration with business, policymakers, investors, and innovators will be essential to achieving low-carbon and zero-carbon shipping. The challenge is so big that it cannot be done without it.”

Other speakers:

Ambassador Kåre R. Aas, Embassy of Norway, US

John Kornerup Bang, Head of Sustainability and shared Value, Maersk (the largest container shipping company in the world)

Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland (hosting one of the busiest container terminals in the US)

Anders Mikkelsen, Director Business Development, DNV GL

Ketil O. Paulsen, General Manager Technology, Kongsberg Maritime

Dr. Joe Pratt, Golden Gate Zero Emission Marine


The single biggest carbon-cutting commitment of this year so far has been from the global shipping industry, which carries 80% of the volume of global trade. The deal was agreed in April at the 174-member state International Maritime Organization, a specialized UN agency, and was achieved with the support of developing and developed countries. The minimum impact of April’s IMO agreement between now and 2050 is prevention of 15 gigatonnes of cumulative CO2 emissions, compared to a business-as-usual scenario – equivalent to stopping 116 coal plants from operating for the next 30 years. The deal heralds the decarbonization by mid-century of global trade.  In practice, this means a reduced carbon footprint of nearly every imported and manufactured product in the world, from bananas to beds, soybeans to smartphones. However now that governments have given a clear direction of travel, the onus is on industry itself to step up and deliver. Existing zero-emission battery and hydrogen technologies urgently need investment to scale up, in order to decarbonize international trade.

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