In fact, researchers stated that in order to cut CO2 emissions and meet Paris Agreement targets, shipping could use up industry's carbon budget before new ships are taken into account.
What is more, it was stated that CO2 emissions from existing ships will dominate the industry's impact on the climate, and could even swallow up shipping's entire safe carbon budget.
University of Manchester along with Tyndall Centre researchers suggested that the most efficient solution to reduce emissions is to pay attention on decarbonising and retrofitting existing ships.
In light of the above, Climate Change Lecturer at The University of Manchester, Dr. John Broderick said:
Unlike in aviation, there are many different ways to decarbonise the shipping sector, but there must be much greater attention paid to retrofitting the existing fleet, before it's too late to deliver on the net-zero target.
With ships considered to be a long-lived vessels, the "committed emissions" from journeys traveled during the rest of their lifespan, are higher than for other modes of transport.
If shipping doesn't act, existing ships are expected to emit well over 100% of a Paris-compatible carbon budget.
Although there are several practices towards reducing the emissions, such as traveling at slower speeds, fitting new renewable technologies connecting to grid electricity while in port, and retrofitting other energy saving measures.
Scientists consider that if maritime players act immediate and implement a solution quickly and at scale, the shipping sector could still fairly contribute to the Paris climate agreement goals, but if not, other sectors will need to cut their emissions deeper and faster to compensate.
Shipping is generally a greener way to transport freight than roads or planes, but its impact is still very large. This research shows there is hope - shipping's overall emissions could be dramatically reduced, if policy-makers act to cut the emissions from the existing fleet.
....Tyndall Centre researcher Simon Bullock concluded.