ICS: Efficiency gains will not be enough to meet 2050 targets

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has said that the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) fourth Greenhouse Gas Study ‘demonstrates that improvements in technical efficiencies alone will not be enough for the sector to reach the target of halving emissions by 2050, compared to 2008 levels’.

However, ICS also said that the study also highlights that the shipping industry has ‘continued its trend of decoupling emissions growth from the global growth of seaborne trade’ – adding that this decoupling ‘has been made possible by significant improvements in carbon intensity, which is now between 21 and 29% better than in 2008, across international shipping’.

Guy Platten, the ICS Secretary General, commented: ‘It’s encouraging to see that shipping continues to be the most environmentally friendly mode for the transportation of goods. The findings of the report strongly reflect the industry’s ongoing efforts to decouple trade and emissions growth.

‘While these are encouraging signs, it’s clear that if we are to achieve a 50% total cut in CO2 by 2050 efficiency gains will not be enough. To realise our goal for a decarbonised future, governments must get behind the adoption of the international R&D fund proposal submitted to the IMO last year.

‘This has the potential to develop the vital technology that will allow us to reach our zero-emission future. The R&D fund will pave the way for vital technological advancements, including the development of zero-carbon fuels and ships.

‘In the short term the reduction in worldwide trade, due to the COVID-19 pandemic could result in reduced emissions. However, this will also severely impact economies and the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Governments will therefore need to work with the IMO to ensure that shipping can play its part in the global recovery, whilst also ensuing the development of the zero-emission ships of tomorrow.

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes