According to a new CE Delft study, the global shipping industry can cut emissions by nearly half by the end of the decade.
It is technically achievable to reduce shipping emissions by 28-47% by 2030, relative to 2008. These emission reductions would require:
- a speed reduction of 20-30% relative to 2018
- widespread adoption of wind-assisted propulsion on ships for which it is technically feasible to do so
- 5-10% of the energy from zero-GHG fuels
Implementing these measures would increase shipping costs by 6-14% on average, relative to BAU.
The study also concludes that costs associated with these emissions cuts would be manageable. Halving emissions in this decade would only add around 10% to the total cost of shipping operations, a sum that would be dwarfed by the cost of climate related damages to the industry and wider society if shipping fails to cut emissions.
Now we know not only that it is possible and shipping has a clear pathway to halving its climate impact by 2030, but that it can do so at minimal cost.
… said John Maggs, Seas At Risk
The maximum technical abatement potential amounts to approximately 175–350 Mt CO2e on a WtW basis per annum, depending on the BAU emissions in 2030. When introduced gradually from 2025, the measures could avoid cumulative emissions of 500–1,000 Mt CO2e.
Waiting until 2050 to decarbonize is a bit like waiting until your house burns down before you call the fire brigade.
… said Faïg Abbasov, Transport & Environment
About half of the emission reductions result from lower speeds and other operational measures, a quarter from wind-assisted propulsion and other technical measures and another quarter from using zero and near-zero-GHG fuels, according to the report.
University College London estimates that every year of inaction this decade will add an extra $100 billion to the cost of shipping decarbonization.
This analysis clearly shows that these reductions are possible and that costs are not a barrier. The evidence couldn’t come at a better time. The IMO must not squander what may be the last best opportunity to put shipping on track to prevent a climate disaster.
… said Delaine McCullough, Ocean Conservancy
Furthermore, Antonio Santos, Pacific Environment, highlighted that the upcoming IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting in July is a historic opportunity to decarbonize international shipping, and including science-based 2030 and 2040 targets are essential to meeting this moment.