ICS on MEPC 80: Governments must set a net zero future

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has submitted proposals to the next round of International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s negotiations during Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) 80.

Shipowners have called on the member states to set a clear direction with increased ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. But the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) argues that knowing where you want to go is only one part of the journey, you have to have the tools to reach your destination.

The ICS supports the proposed fuel standard but believes that it will not succeed on its own. According to Simon Bennett, ICS Deputy Secretary General, it has to be supported by a radical economic measure, which will operate across the world to incentivize the production and uptake of the low and zero GHG fuels necessary to accelerate transition to a net zero destination

Furthermore, Bennett noted that shipping remains the most carbon efficient way to transport the goods that we all use, with about 90% of world trade carried by sea. However, being efficient does not mean not working towards addressing the 3% shipping contributes to global carbon emissions.

ICS, and its members, are optimistic that governments will set a net zero target which sends a signal to energy producers and marine fuel suppliers, charting the direction of travel. ICS argues however that far more critical are the decisions that governments must now urgently take about the measures which will enable the end destination.

Simon Bennett also pointed out that shipowners are willing to pay into a multi-billion dollar global fund, which if structured correctly, will reduce the cost gap between conventional fuel oil and the much more expensive zero GHG fuels as they begin to become available. A growing number of governments recognize the merit of these industry proposals, but developing nations are still concerned about the impact on their economies.

Simon Bennett believes that in order to produce the very large amounts of low and zero GHG fuels, such as methanol, ammonia and hydrogen, sustainable biofuels and synthetic fuels (as well as developing new technologies such as carbon capture) is going to take real world regulation and meaningful incentives, not just the adoption of a new GHG reduction target.

Setting a direction of travel is important, but without the tools to get there it becomes meaningless aspiration.

… said Bennet

Governments have an opportunity this July to come together and chart a clear unambiguous course to a net zero future. Industry has provided the tools needed to reach this goal. A mandatory fuel standard with a “Fund and Reward” measure will unlock opportunity for all and ensure we reach our destination. A journey starts with a single step, the ICS Deputy Secretary General highlighted.

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