In advance of President Biden’s Leader’s Summit on Climate, major shipping organizations are calling on world leaders to examine the role of market-based measures (MBMs) to reach ambitious decarbonization targets for the global shipping industry. International shipping plays a crucial role in today’s supply chain and economy, serving over 80 per cent of world trade as well as creating jobs and economic progress for societies. Although shipping is one of the most sustainable forms of transport, there is still a need to reduce carbon emissions.

According to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Fourth IMO GHG Study 2020, maritime transport was responsible for 2.89% of global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in 2018. At the 72nd session of the Marine Environment Protection (MEPC) in 2018, the IMO adopted the Initial IMO Strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships (Initial Strategy) with a vision to phase out GHG emissions from international shipping, as soon as possible in this century. The strategy seeks to establish levels of ambition that are subject to ongoing reviews by the IMO. The ambition levels consider potential improvements on vessel design and operational performance as well as the immediate need to introduce low/zero carbon fuels and market-based measures (MBMs) to incentivize GHG emission reduction.

The goal of this strategy is to reduce average CO2 emissions in maritime transport by 40% by 2030, and 70% by 2050 compared with 2008. The total annual GHG emissions of international shipping are aimed to reduce by 50% by 2050, and to reach zero before the end of the century.

In order to achieve the ambitious targets of the IMO GHG strategy, shipping bodies BIMCO, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), World Shipping Council, along with other industry groups, have proposed that a global carbon pricing scheme be put into place that supports IMO’s decision to reduce emissions and have requested IMO to start discussions as soon as possible. The industry anticipates that the proposed global tax will motivate shipowners to invest in innovative and energy efficient technologies towards achieving decarbonized international shipping.

Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, President of WMU welcomed the news saying, “On behalf of the World Maritime University, I wish to congratulate the ICS and the shipping industry for this ambitious and timely initiative that echoes the emphasis IMO has placed on reducing carbon emissions from shipping. We are at a critical point in the health of our planet where everything that can be done, needs to be done without delay, to curb climate change.”

WMU plays a key role in capacity building, education and research in the field of Maritime Energy Management to support decarbonization efforts of international shipping as well as contributing significantly to achieving the UN targets of SDG 7 focused on clean energy for all and SDG 13 focused on urgent action to combat climate change.

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