Specifically, shipping plays a major role in climate change as it carries close to 80% of global trade and accounts for 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) annually. Therefore, collaboration and rapid action are fully needed to deal with the environment.

Also, Christensen notes that because shipping is not included in the Paris Agreement, IMO in collaboration with the United Nations adopted a GHG strategy in April 2018.

During the IMO MEPC 72 meeting in London, participants reached an agreement to reduce shipping's GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008. This was marked as a historic decision, as the shipping industry aims to align with the Paris Agreement goals.

In the meantime, Christensen also refers to the Getting to Zero Coalition initiative, launched in 2019, which aims to a commercially viable zero-emission vessel industry for ships operating along deep sea trade routes by 2030.

Consequently, if shipping is to halve its emissions by 2050, there is a need for zero-emission vessels to enter the global fleet by 2030 – only 10 years from now – as well as for a clear path to providing the large amounts of zero-emission fuels needed to allow for rapid uptake over the following decades.


The initiative is an example that shipping decarbonization can be achieved through close collaboration and deliberate collective action between the maritime, energy, infrastructure and finance sectors, having support from government and international organisations.

In addition, he mentioned the new study by UMAS and the Energy Transitions Commission for the Getting to Zero Coalition which showed that shipping decarbonization needs an $1 trillion investment. Thus, according to the study, if shipping was to fully decarbonize by 2050, this would require further investments of some $400 billion over 20 years, bringing the total to $1.4-$1.9 trillion.

He concluded that while the exact numbers on total bunker fuel consumption for shipping are not readily available, they are estimated to be around 250-300 million tons of fuel consumed annually. This means that shipping’s decarbonization has the scale to be a catalyst for the broader energy transition, unlocking the market for zero-emission fuels – a shift that represents a trillion-dollar market opportunity.