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Can We Realistically Make International Shipping Net-Zero?

2 min

c. Analogicus, Pixabay.
As we enter London International Shipping Week, the UK aims to make it the greenest yet by announcing a net-zero target for international shipping emissions by 2050. Quadrant Transport looks at how much of an impact shipping has on UK emissions. 

Unfortunately, as it currently stands, international shipping is a large and growing source of greenhouse emissions. Maritime transport emits around 940 million tonnes of CO2 annually and contributes to nearly 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

While this percentage may seem relatively low, it represents a larger 13% of total transport emissions across Europe.

Even as we decarbonise the transport sector, whether that be in EV infrastructure or electrification of the rail network, there needs to be a focus on shipping and the impact it has on the environment.

These net-zero targets set out by the Government would need approval by the International Maritime Organisation.

At a speech on Wednesday 15th September, the Transport Secretary will announce the winners of the multimillion-pound Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition.

Now is the time for collaboration across each sector

The competition will be focused on innovative green maritime solutions, launched as part of the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point plan for a green industrial revolution last November.

With this being the greenest shipping week to date, the UK is focused on working in collaboration with the sector to build a strong sustainable future for UK maritime.

As recently published in the intergovernmental panel on climate change report, warming is happening quicker than previously estimated, therefore action is needed across all sectors and the UK needs to do all it can to slash emissions from shipping.

Warming is happening quicker than previously estimated, therefore action is needed across all sectors

Part of this vision will be having fully functioning commercial vessels in service by 2025, opening the possibility for cleaner and greener channel crossings in the next decade.

Grant Shapps optimistic for the future of international shipping

Quadrant Transport heard from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps: “As a maritime nation with a rich history, and host of COP26 this year, we are proud to be at the forefront of the greener era for maritime, charting an international course for the future of clean shipping.”

The maritime sector makes up 1.1% of UK turnover and 2.3% of exports of goods and services

The maritime sector makes up 1.1% of UK turnover and 2.3% of exports of goods and services. While this figure is relatively low, it is still important to push for net-zero goals in the sector as its current contribution to the UK’s emissions is disproportionately higher than other sectors.

Rounding up Grant Shapps explained: “Taking action now allows us to lead the charge on this global shift, creating highly-skilled jobs for British workers and shaping the landscape for what clean shipping and trade will look like for future generations.”

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