Following announcements by many shipping industry players last week that signaled a downturn in the market, the US has teamed up with Norway to accelerate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions for the shipping sector.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonah Gaher Støre and US Presidential Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry launched the Green Shipping Challenge at the United Nations COP27 climate summit in Egypt on Monday. The challenge encourages governments, ports and shipping companies alike to prepare commitments to reduce the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The main objective of the challenge is to align the industry as a whole with the Paris Agreement goals of limiting the temperature rise to around 32 degrees Fahrenheit – a goal More Than Shipping has increasingly pursued over the past six months.
“Greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping sector are significant, growing and on a course inconsistent with the Paris Agreement targets. Compared to countries’ emissions, the sector would rank among the top 10 emitters globally,” the US State Department said in a statement Monday.
The way forward
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has also set an interim target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships in industry by 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. This means that the time for shipping companies to rethink is fast approaching.
The challenge has strong support from the High-Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, a group composed of representatives from Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Namibia, Portugal, the United Kingdom and leading nations Norway and the United States.
“Shipping is a major emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide, so it is important that swift and decisive action is taken on a large scale to reduce emissions from the sector and limit temperature rise to 1.5°C. The Green Shipping Challenge offers participants the opportunity to work towards cleaner alternatives and significantly advance the transition to a sustainable ocean economy,” said Jonas Gahr Støre, Prime Minister of Norway and co-chair of the Ocean Panel.
The response from the shipping industry has been consistently positive, with many in the industry making important announcements regarding support and compliance. From shipping giants like AP Moller-Maersk to government agencies of power players on the international scene like Germany, over 40 announcements in favor of the new policy have been made in the past few days.
This is an early step of many that needs to be taken by the industry to meet its goals, and those following the story can expect further announcements from government regulators, the IMO and shippers well into 2023 to be continued as the industry tries to do its part on climate change in mind.