International shipping industry takes significant action on decarbonisation at UNFCCC COP23 15 November 2017

15 November 2017

A group of international shipping industry leaders have joined forces to drive the decarbonisation agenda with a business-focused approach that pushes ahead of regulatory mechanisms at the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The 150+ group of shipping’s most ambitious and commercially-savvy leaders, strategists and entrepreneurs gathered in Bonn to forge a draft Action Plan that maps out how shipping can contribute its ‘fair share’ of GHG reductions and decarbonise quickly and deeply enough to meet the high ambition climate change target of limiting global temperatures to 1.5oC, as indicated in the Paris Agreement.

The summit concluded in consensus that the international shipping industry does have the technology toolbox required for decarbonisation. However, some solutions required are still in late-stage development, not yet mature, or require significant upscaling for deployment and market readiness. Also, participants concluded that investments in alternative fuels are key for shipping to decarbonise in the longer term.

The high ambition approaches and conclusions made by participants at the summit for the baseline requirements of a decarbonisation Action Plan were:

  • We will build demonstrator vessels for the trialling of new technologies.
  • We will push for the urgent adoption of a science-based target for carbon emissions.
  • We will push for a much tighter, more robust Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI).
  • We will build a ‘coalition of the willing’ of those ready to collaborate across the industry in tackling the 1.5oC decarbonisation challenge.
  • We will define ‘transparency’ in the industry and drive the adoption of that transparency in relation to emissions and operational data.
  • We will ensure that the decarbonisation debate is broadened to involve all stakeholders, enhancing synergies and emission savings across the entire value chain.
  • We will develop more global forums based on focused working groups, including an Asia advocacy group.
  • We will ‘Make Shipping Sexy’ through communication strategies in order to:
    • A. foster a multiplier ‘Ambition’ effect to encourage other actors to engage in decarbonisation projects and;
    • B. attract new talent to a modernising industry.
Several commitments made at the summit will sit at the core of the decarbonisation Action Plan:
  • To make a container ship available as a test/demonstrator vessel for low carbon and zero emissions technologies.
  • To urgently work towards the establishment of a CO2 levy to stimulate the uptake of clean technology and low carbon operations.
  • To convene a similar summit of the same structure and impact for retailers and local ship owners on a regional basis.
  • To continue the ‘technology toolbox’ discussion and build a robust performance verification process.
  • To find shipping companies who will go beyond legislation – and actively support them.
  • To create an innovation/engineering challenge prize to stimulate the bringing of technology and designs to market.
  • To develop a system that brings forward benefits of emissions saving operational changes and adoption of low carbon technology, prior to mandated emissions levies.
  • To change company operations to collaborate more intensively with equipment suppliers and to further embed more ambitious R&D into company structures.
  • To make a concerted effort to raise the profile of the shipping emissions issue with consumers.
  • To create a powerful platform for cross-stakeholder engagement.
  • To enhance collaboration between Think-Tanks and NGOs that are active in the sector and to pool resources.
  • To call for the greater collaboration of research & technology sharing with developing countries.
Following the summit, a briefing document containing a summary of the main challenges and opportunities of shipping industry decarbonisation in addition to the high ambition approaches agreed was delivered to UNFCCC delegates, National delegation focal points, the UNFCCC secretariat and all relevant national policy makers to influence discussions around shipping transportation at the COP23 proceedings. A comprehensive decarbonisation Action Plan will also be developed.
Co-organisers of the Ambition 1.5oC: Global Shipping’s Action Plan summit included Lloyd’s Register, MAN Diesel & Turbo, RightShip, MARIKO, Danish Shipping, International Windship Association (IWSA) and Green Ship of the Future. The Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), Carbon War Room and UMAS are advisor to the summit and the official event organizers were The Blue Green Events Company, Mantour Consultancy and Smart Green Shipping Alliance (SGSA).
The summit was officially endorsed by a jury consisting of the UNFCCC partners; the incoming Fijian Presidency of COP23, the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the City of Bonn and is an official Climate Partner for COP23.
Katharine Palmer, LR’s Global Sustainability Manager, commented: “With the reality to achieve a 50% reduction in CO2 by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement, zero emission vessels (ZEVs) need to be entering the fleet in about 2030. The big question is how do we make this a reality? As a co-organiser of this Ambition event, we have helped bring together key stakeholders of the shipping value chain to highlight the potential and commercial attractiveness this offer, and identify the key enablers and specific actions we all can commit to and can take forward to demonstrate industry leadership.”
November 2017
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