A quarter of Europe’s shipping will run on LNG by 2030, a new Transport & Environment study shows.
his will lock-in fossil fuel use for decades while bringing limited benefits to the climate, says T&E, with Delphine Gozillon, sustainable shipping officer at T&E, stating that:
We cannot afford to shift from one fossil fuel to another. It will not get us to zero emissions by 2050 and, by putting more methane into the atmosphere may even fry the planet faster
During 2021, the European Commission proposed a law requiring ship operators to reduce the lifecycle carbon footprint of the fuels. The EU targets aim to gradually reduce the most polluting oil-powered ships, and drive the uptake of sustainable fuels.
However, the study notes that they will be replaced by fossil LNG-powered ships, which the regulation gives the green light to well into the 2040s.
As the Commission proposal stands, ships will have little or no incentive to switch to more sustainable alternatives such as green hydrogen or hydrogen-based fuels known as ‘e-fuels’. Currently there is no mandate for e-fuels meaning shipowners can rely on fossil LNG and dubious biofuels to meet EU targets into the 2040s
Commenting on the findings, Delphine Gozillon added that Europe’s policymakers should introduce dedicated quotas and incentives to boost demand for hydrogen-based fuels.
Taking the above into consideration, T&E recommends mandating a 6% target for shipping e-fuels by 2030 as the most straightforward way to ensure supply and demand for sustainable fuels, while providing business predictability to shipowners and fuel suppliers.
As it says, without this minimum share of e-fuels and stricter greenhouse gas targets, full decarbonisation by 2050 will likely be out of reach.