Shipping heavyweights at risk of missing climate targets

(EurActiv, 4 Jul 2019) The world’s shipping heavyweights are not investing in key technologies to reduce their carbon footprint, putting the sector at risk of missing targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project.

This is revealed in a new report ‘A Sea Change’ from the environmental non-profit and investment research provider CDP. The report ranks 18 of the largest publicly listed shipping companies, representing US$62 billion of market capitalization, on business readiness for a low-carbon transition.

Shipping accounts for up to 3% of global emissions and 10% of transport emissions – roughly the same as aviation – and is an integral part of the global economy, transporting around 80% of the world’s trade in physical goods.

Marine freight is the least emissions intensive way of moving cargo, but freight demand is on the rise, which will require the sector to rapidly reduce its carbon emissions.

Against the backdrop of the IMO’s recent strategy to reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050, there is heightened pressure on shipping companies to take a long-term approach in curbing their carbon footprint.

To date Maersk, HMM and NORDEN are the most ambitious in setting long-term targets to reduce carbon emissions, consistent with the IMO’s strategy. However, the report finds there is a gap between the cutting-edge carbon-neutral technologies available to companies, and the forms of innovation they are developing.

CDP’s analysis of marine innovations finds that only three are actively developing technologies that can have a transformative impact on the industry. Companies such as NYK are working towards developing zero-emission vessels for 2050, whilst Maersk and NORDEN are actively pioneering the use of ‘second generation’ biofuels produced from waste sources such as cooking oil.

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EurActiv, 4 Jul 2019: Shipping heavyweights at risk of missing climate targets