Maritime Transport Emissions Could be Halved By 2030, Research Finds

Maritime transportation could see a drastic reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions whilst still maintaining it’s trade value, according to research conducted by CE Delft. According to their findings, utilising current technologies such as modern ‘wind-assist’ sails, experimental fuels such as hydrogen or biofuels, and solar batteries could cut emissions from 36% – 47%.

These findings come as many countries prepare to discuss a potential new tax on shipping carbon emission in London this week. Currently producing 3% of the world’s emissions, maritime transportation has been slow in its renewable energy changeover. With few alternatives to their currently used fuels, many countries are now calling for a tax on shipping. This tax would, in theory, help prompt shipowners to invest in emission reduction and assist in funding for countries hit hardest by the climate crisis.

The Renewable Energy Institute has long been in support of the changeover to renewable energies. Whether that is hydrogen, solar or wind, the REI provides expert training within the industry to ensure professionals have all the necessary skills and tools needed to cut carbon emissions. Discover what Expert Pathways we have available today.

A potential new levy for shipping of up to $100 per tonne of carbon production has been proposed by The International Maritime Organization – a division of the UN that governs global shipping.

This was originally discussed by 40 world leaders in Paris last week at the summit for a new global financing pact. Many developed and developing countries spoke in favour of the tax, which would direct revenues to the ‘Loss and Damage fund’, aimed to helped countries that have been affected by extreme weather brought on by climate change.

Estimates show that a carbon tax on shipping could raise as much as $60bn a year.

Ireland’s environmental minister, Eamon Ryan, has urged all members of The International Maritime Organization to support and work towards implementing a tax. “We need to show real commitment on addressing the climate crisis, and these mechanisms would give the developing world confidence that it’s no longer just time for talking, it’s time to act.”

He goes on to comment on a potential aviation tax tackling the same issue with air transport. “The great advantage there is on equity – it is the wealthier people who fly,” he states. “One euro on a plane ticket would give us €5bn a year. That’s not a small contribution to the effort we need to make.”

With the climate crisis causing clear issues today, the changeover to greener alternatives in fuels must be implemented now. University College London’s research has shown that every year of delay in decarbonising this decade will cost the shipping industry an additional $100bn to reach net zero by mid-century. This research is crucial, as countries such as China, India and Brazil have cited a potential loss in trade value within the shipping industry should they take steps to decarbonisation. Campaigners have stated it is now vital that research has found cutting emissions will have no impact on global trade.