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World - Loud Calls for Global Shipping to Ditch Fossil Fuels and Meet Climate Goals

At UN Climate Week this week, calls have increased for shipping to urgently ditch fossil fuels to meet the planet’s climate goals.

The global shipping industry remains weakly regulated and is significantly off course to meet climate targets that scientists and the rest of the world all agree are needed to avoid runaway climate change.

A new report, entitled ‘Zero-Carbon for Shipping’ from leading international conservation organization Ocean Conservancy was launched at a virtual gathering of world leaders and decision-makers at Climate Week in New York this week.

It highlighted that the global shipping industry was not doing enough to address the climate crisis. Currently the shipping industry is heading off trajectory and current proposals are less than 25% of the ambition levels that are needed.

Shipping emits over 1 billion tons of carbon a year, making it the sixth-largest emitter in the world after China, U.S., India, Russia and Japan. These emissions have been growing significantly year on year, and are expected to be 50% higher by 2050, possibly tipping the world beyond its carbon budget.

The Zero Carbon report highlights several pathways for how global shipping could transition from a heavy dependency on fossil fuels to alternative fuels. This would transform an industry that is a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions into a multi-trillion dollar energy stimulus for a new green economy around the world.

The question is why hasn’t global shipping been moving swiftly enough.

he event brought together a panel of international experts from the shipping industry, government and civil society to explore the future of alternative fuels (electrofuels) to meet and exceed the UN shipping agency, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO), voluntary goal to “reduce the total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely.”

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