Ships and greenhouse gases are about to get into a fight

Ships and greenhouse gases are about to get into a fight

Ships and greenhouse gases are about to get into a fight In one year, ships traversing our oceans emit as much planet-warming carbon through their smokestacks as all of Germany.

The vast shipping industry is responsible for transporting nine-tenths of the world’s products, but it does not yet have a “net zero” emission reduction target. A United Nations summit beginning on Monday hopes to alter this.

Reaching “net zero” would involve actively removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to offset any remaining shipping emissions. Some delegates wish for this to occur by 2050 and for emissions to be cut in half by 2030.

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According to environmental activists, this would be the “deal of the decade.”

The shipping industry, governments, and environmental organizations have argued for years over how to make seaborne transport of goods more environmentally friendly.

The issue was deemed too complex to be included in the Paris climate agreement of 2015 to combat global warming. Ships transport about 90% of the goods and commodities consumed worldwide.

These vessels frequently burn extremely polluting fuels that contribute up to 3 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions, roughly the same as Germany or 243 coal plants.

Experts have warned that this could increase by as much as 50 percent by the middle of this century if firmer action is not taken.

The maritime industry’s current plans only call for a halving of emissions by the middle of the 21st century, according to scientists, which is in stark contrast to the Paris climate accord.

This week, under the supervision of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization (IMO), delegates from 175 maritime nations will convene in London to discuss a new timeline for decarbonizing their industry entirely.

Campaigners want a much more stringent target, with a reduction of roughly half by 2030 and a new net-zero target for 2050. Others would like to see complete decarbonization carried forward to 2040.

“If member states get this right, they can align the shipping sector with the Paris temperature targets and promote investment in green technologies that will completely transform the sector,” said Kerrlene Wills, director of the UN Climate Foundation’s Ocean and Climate Program.

Numerous nations are in favor, and a number of shipping corporations want to move forward with plans for cleaner transportation. Maersk, the second-largest container shipping company in the world, has set its own objective of zero emissions by the year 2040.

A number of nations, including China, India, and Saudi Arabia, which are eager to protect their domestic shipping interests, have in the past thwarted attempts to strengthen climate ambitions at the IMO.

Observers believe that if the London meeting can agree on these new objectives for all shipping, it will be the most significant step forward against climate change since the Paris accord.

John Maggs, a campaigner with the Clean Shipping Coalition, told reporters, “You would genuinely have a climate agreement not just for the year but probably for the decade.”

Within the industry as a whole, it is acknowledged that reform is necessary, but there is concern that new targets will be too difficult and costly. However, recent research indicates that halving the maritime industry’s emissions in this decade would only add about 10% to the total operational costs.

The Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Kitack Lim, implored delegates last week to “make compromises and find solutions,” describing 2023 as “the year of decisive climate action. Faig Abbasov of Transport and Environment reiterated his sentiments:

“Waiting until 2050 to decarbonize is like waiting until your residence catches fire before calling the fire department… What is required is political will; IMO must either act or disband!”

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