The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) is launching a framework for shipping industry companies to set near- and long-term science-based targets in line with 1.5°C and net-zero.
hrough the Science Based Target Setting Guidance for the Maritime Transport Sector, the SBTi outlines how much and how quickly a maritime transport company needs to cut emissions to be in line with limiting global warming to 1.5°C.
Specifically, it provides detailed information on how maritime companies should set targets and account for greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account the particular barriers and opportunities of the sector.
According to UMAS, big data, and qualitative and social science analysis, the industry must scale up climate action and cut its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2040 to get on track and meet the global climate goals.
The shipping industry is on course to increase emissions more than five fold before 2050. This is incompatible with our planetary limits. We must turn the ship and set a new course to drive immediate emission reductions
Alberto Carrillo Pineda, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer of the SBTi, said.
In a first for any sector-specific science-based emissions guidance, maritime businesses must set both near- and long-term science-based targets for emissions from their owned operations. For the maritime sector, a long-term target means reducing emissions to a residual level in line with 1.5°C by no later than 2040. This is in line with sector-specific recommendations from science and academia.
The SBTi Maritime Guidance has been developed for users and providers of marine transportation services, that is, companies that own and operate ocean-going vessels and those setting targets for their supply chain emissions associated with maritime trade.
This guidance was developed with the support of Smart Freight Centre (SFC) and UMAS, and in consultation with a Technical Working Group (TWG) made up of experts from academia, civil society and business.
The development process included a month-long public consultation to guarantee the criteria and guidance are robust, clear and practical, and provide business leaders with confidence that their decarbonization strategies are in line with climate science.
Considerations for biogenic based fuels
Required carbon intensity reduction rates can be achieved by reducing demand for energy, including through energy efficiency improvements, and reducing GHG intensity of fuel including the use of biofuels. Biofuels are eligible for achieving GHG reduction, as long as Well-to-Wake emission factors are used, and if in-line with EU Directive (EU, 2018) , crop-based biofuels are avoided. If user is not bound by the EU Directive, it is recommended that these guidelines are still followed.
Alternatively interim guidance provided by GLEC is to be used as a source for upstream assumptions. The IMO MEPC is currently developing sector specific LCA guidelines to provide default values and framework for the definition of emission factors for expected maritime fuels. Pending the review of these guidelines they may be specified for use in due course.
Interaction with other sector decarbonization initiatives
There are several other initiatives related to maritime transport decarbonization which have been developed to measure and disclose climate performance or alignment against a decarbonisation benchmark.
The most widely used are the Poseidon Principles for Finance, the Poseidon Principles for Marine Insurance and the Sea Cargo Charter, which have been set up by the maritime financing, insurance and chartering community respectively.
While all these initiatives share the long-term purpose of supporting net-zero transition, their intended users, mode of operation and implementation is intrinsically different.
While the SBTi maritime transport guidance aims to support near and long-term corporate target-setting, the above initiatives focus on disclosure of climate alignment of shipping portfolios for various types of financial institutions.
That is, science-based targets are GHG emissions reductions that companies must achieve within a specific timeframe to meet the decarbonization goals of the Paris Agreement, whereas climate alignment is the degree to which a vessel, product, or investors portfolio’s annual carbon intensity is in line with a decarbonization trajectory.
In spite of this distinction, the complementary nature of all these frameworks is crucial for engagement and mobilization of different stakeholder groups towards a common outcome of measuring, disclosing and reducing sector emissions.
Usability limitations arising from the SBTi Fossil Fuel Policy
At the time of publication of this guidance, the SBTi is unable to accept commitments or validate targets for companies in the oil and gas or fossil fuels sectors.
This includes companies with any level of direct involvement in exploration, extraction, mining and/or production of oil, natural gas, coal or other fossil fuels, irrespective of percentage revenue generated by these activities, i.e. including, but not limited to, integrated oil and gas companies, integrated gas companies, exploration and production pure players, refining and marketing pure players, oil products distributors, gas distributors and retailers and traditional oil and gas service companies.
Users of the SBTi maritime tool wishing to submit targets covering activities related to transportation of fossil fuel products are advised to review the current status of the Fossil Fuel Policy as well as sector specific requirements stated in the latest version of the SBTi Criteria.