Driving Emission Out of Shipping - A race against time

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Magnus Gustafsson, Partner at PBI

Green-house-gas (GHG) emissions from shipping have until recently received little scrutiny or regulatory attention. They were left out of the Paris agreement on climate change, which sets out a global action plan to keep global warming well below 2°C, requiring reduction commitments by individual nations. Because overall global temperature rise depends on cumulative global CO2 emissions, the Paris temperature range can be translated into a 600 Gt budget of CO2 emissions that are still permissible, but requires global and drastic cut-downs by all sectors, including all actors within the shipping sector.

Although shipping is the most energy-efficient transport mode to move large volumes of cargo, in a business as usual scenario with an annual estimated growth rate of three (3) percentage and no actions taken to cut CO2 -emissions, an increase by nearly a quarter (23 % equalling 1090 tonnes is projected by 2035). Reducing emissions on a global scale presents significant challenges to all industry sectors, including sea freight. Figure 1 shows that the sooner the process of reducing emissions is commenced, the more time there will be to switch to low-emission operations in a sustainable manner. If the process for reducing emissions is not commenced within the next few years, the world faces significant warming and drastic measures.

The whole white paper can be read from here