Speaking at the Singapore Maritime Week, the Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Esben Poulsson, said the adoption by IMO of a strategy to reduce shipping emissions will be able to decarbonise the industry completely.
Mr. Poulsson seemed optimistic that the new strategy will succeed its goals, as he said that:
The aviation sector’s regulators have so far only agreed to hold its total CO2 emissions at 2020 levels, with no clear plan for absolute reduction. Moreover, compared to the 50% cut agreed by IMO, the commitments made by governments under the Paris Agreement with respect to the rest of the global economy will not see total CO2 emissions begin to reduce until the 2030s, while shipping’s total current CO2 emissions are already about 8% lower than ten years ago despite a 30% increase in trade demand.
ICS is also confident that the new technologies that are being launched will eventually deliver; whether that is the use of fuel cells or batteries powered by renewable energy, new fuels such as hydrogen, or some other solution not yet anticipated.
To be clear, while LNG and biofuels will probably form a part of the interim solution, the very high goals IMO has now set for 2050 can only be achieved with the development of zero CO2 propulsion systems.
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Moreover, the IMO strategy includes a list of alternatives to achieve further CO2 reduction while shipping still depends on fossils fuels, including additional measures that could be ready for implementation before 2023.
For this reason, ICS is now developing detailed input to IMO on all these proposals. However, there is a controversy regarding the application of some kind of Market Based Measure (MBM).
ICS is deeply sceptical of MBMs as a means of further incentivising CO2 reduction. Fuel is costing the most to shipowners and this is expected to increase more, as a result of the 2020 sulphur cap.
Mr. Poulsson commented on this:
Should IMO decide there is a political need to develop an MBM, the clear preference of the global industry would be for a bunker fuel levy payable to some kind of IMO climate fund. If such a levy was developed, the funds should be deployed to support research into new low carbon technologies or to support the roll-out of the expensive new bunkering infrastructure that will be required to supply zero CO2 fuels.