The Global Maritime Forum (GMF) has published a brief to argue that more countries should support international shipping’s transition to zero emissions.
he “National and regional policy for international shipping decarbonisation” brief emphasizes the potential for meaningful contributions by governments. Furthermore, it suggests that there are numerous options for governments to make meaningful contributions to shipping decarbonization.
Key points made:
- The successful decarbonisation of international shipping requires a shift in the maritime policy narrative across a variety of countries.
- It demands a step up in the level of ambition among countries with strong maritime profiles as well as bold and rapid action from new entrants.
- It also creates a unique set of challenges, such as those related to the need to coordinate policies on multiple levels, reform governance processes within countries, and establish strong accountability and transparency frameworks.
Our key message goes from industry leaders to governments and regulators […] that now we need you to pick up the ball on your side of the court, meaning work with the entire shipping community to ensure that shipping can be decarbonized by 2050.
… Johannah Christensen, CEO at Global Maritime Forum, had said in an exclusive interview with SAFETY4SEA
Policy Pathway Determined by National Factors
Each country’s policy pathway for shipping decarbonization is influenced by its strengths, ambitions, and its current and envisioned role in the global shipping ecosystem. Different countries may be more equipped to tackle different stages of the transition and may see their role as primarily supporting the emergence, diffusion, and/or reconfiguration phases. For example, being a first-mover country is often a high-risk, high-reward strategy.
Through research and development and market formation policies, the collective actions of first-mover countries steer which technologies are ready for widespread adoption. According to GMF, for these countries, the speed of mobilising funding to support early technological development often represents a key success factor.
Countries can also differentiate their contributions to international shipping decarbonisation based on their current and envisioned roles in the global shipping ecosystem. Each of these potential roles comes with its own incentives, trade-offs, and policy measures (see full insight brief for descriptions of each profile).
Decarbonisation brings shipping, an industry simultaneously intertwined with the global economy and often marginalised in policy decisions at national and global levels, closer to other sectors. It is increasingly clear that international shipping cannot only be a beneficiary of the global energy transition but must also play an active role in shaping its pace and direction. Likewise, shipping may act as a catalyst for modernising international trade regulations and spurring innovations applicable to other sectors.
For countries active in these spaces, international shipping may not be a strategic priority as such, and there may be limited understanding of its potential to deliver on other strategic objectives. Extending the reach of national policies to international shipping is, therefore, often hindered by poor institutional capacity and a lack of understanding of these linkages.