Shipping needs a ban of fossil fuels from 2035 if it is to reach its climate targets by 2050, according to a new study commissioned by Germany-based manufacturer MAN Energy Solutions and the Fraunhofer-Institute for Systems and Innovations Research (ISI).
xploring scenarios for the maritime industry’s pathway to a greener future towards 2050, the study designates the current decade as crucial for success of maritime energy transition and presents four different future scenarios for shipping in 2050. These holistic scenarios take into account all relevant factors affecting the transition process, including changes in lifestyle and thinking, economic growth, regulation and digitalization, aiming to contribute to better decision-making.
The maritime industry currently has a goal, but not yet a way to get there. By 2050, the International Maritime Organization wants greenhouse-gas emissions to fall by 50%, however these targets have not yet been backed up by concrete measures,
…noted Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Energy Solutions.
For the qualitative part, the Fraunhofer Institute interviewed some 40 experts from all areas of the maritime industry, but also from associations, science and politics. Over 30 industry experts subsequently discussed the scenarios drafted on this basis in a workshop.
In two of the scenarios, climate targets are met or even exceeded by 2050. By contrast, the other two scenarios point to the potential failure of climate policy.
According to one key takeaway, left to market forces, the shipping industry could persist in a self-optimisation mode where the focus would then be on further maximizing efficiency with no real change taking place. A regulatory framework supported by social consensus, on the other hand, could trigger not only such a technological change, but also a boom in shipping as a result.
A complete ban on fossil fuels in the second half of the decade could significantly promote such a development, according to the study. These findings come in line with the latest BP Energy Outlook which found that energy consumption shifts away from fossil fuels by 2050, offset by an increasing share for renewable energy and a growing role for electricity.
Key takeaways from the study
- Advocacy: We need society’s advocacy to make the maritime energy transition a success. The underlying change process required is much bigger than our industry.
- Global growth: Global growth can be an important driver for decarbonisation – and vice versa
- Fossil fuels: At some point down the road we may have to discuss a ban of fossil fuels, which takes us right back to the first insight.
If the world becomes entangled in selfish interests, we will not achieve a climate turnaround. In contrast, a smartly-set, global, regulatory framework can turn the decarbonisation of shipping into a growth engine for the industry. After all, if the global supply chain is consistently geared toward climate protection, ships are far superior to all other modes of transport,