Ship It Zero ‘cautiously welcomes’ shipping giants’ call for an end-date for fossil-only powered newbuilds

The Ship It Zero coalition has told that it is ‘cautiously welcoming’ the call for an end-date for fossil-only powered newbuilds made at COP28 by five of the world’s largest shipping lines, MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Wallenius Wilhelmsen — but it also urging the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ‘apply a stringent climate regulatory lens to the industry proposal’.

In a statement sent to last night (5 December), Kendra Ulrich, the Transportation Campaign Director with the climate NGO and Ship It Zero member, said: ‘While we welcome the support of shipping majors for GHG pricing and well-to-wake emissions accounting, we urge the IMO to set strong targets for ending the use of fossil fuels by the sector, regardless of engine type. We also urge the IMO to opt for comprehensive vessel emissions accounting, reporting transparency, and rigorous enforcement. The climate crisis is a global emergency that requires clear-eyed, decisive action to decarbonize the shipping sector, not more industry smokescreens and weak regulations.’

Jonathan Butler, Ship It Zero Lead with Pacific Environment, added: ‘The clock is ticking on the climate crisis and we don’t have time to waste with false solutions. We applaud these top shipping carriers for recognizing their power and responsibility to act in this moment. We commend the proposed actions to set greenhouse gas pricing and address well-to-wake emissions. But, now is the time for bold action that prioritizes transparency and equity, and we call on the IMO to set and enforce emissions rules that prioritize the rapid decarbonization of every vessel on a timeline commensurate with the climate emergency and carriers to meet those rules. It is clear. We must end our dependency on fossil-fueled shipping, including LNG, and move to 100% zero-emissions ships by 2030.’

The Ship It Zero statement then offered its own recommendations on the the carriers’ four regulatory ‘cornerstones’:

  • An Effective GHG pricing mechanism

Ship It Zero said it welcomes this proposal, but adds that the IMO must ‘adopt an aggressive GHG pricing framework to rapidly achieve market parity for green fuels’.

  • An end date for fossil fuel-only vessels and a clear GHG Energy-Intensity Standard timeline

Ship It Zero said that it has significant concerns with regard to the narrowly defined ‘fossil fuel-only’ vessels, as many LNG ships are dual-fuel vessels. ‘Setting target end dates for fossil fuel usage would be a stronger standard,’ said Ship It Zero, ‘as the initiative stands, there would be no clear date when fossil fuel-powered ships would be phased out.’

  • A vessel pooling option for GHG regulatory compliance

Ship It Zero said that it does not support this initiative as currently written, because it believes the proposal ‘lacks clarity on reporting transparency, additional details to ensure that compliance results in an equitable distribution of climate and pollution reduction benefits across geographies, and a proposed timeline for transitioning all vessels to operate with zero-emissions’. The climate NGO added: ‘Without further details, this proposal risks perpetuating environmental injustice due to inequitable emissions reductions and little, if any, enforcement.’

  • A Well-to-Wake or lifecycle GHG regulatory basis to align investment decisions with climate interests

This cornerstone was given a warmer reception, as Ship It Zero said that it ‘applauds these shipping carriers for taking a strong stance in support of well-to-wake emissions counting’.

Click here to access a statement by Maersk announcing the shipping lines’ joint declaration calling for an end-date for fossil-only powered newbuilds.

Image: Shutterstock

Ian Taylor