Full steam ahead on the voyage to decarbonise the shipping sector

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Carbon Trust

In 2019, 11 billion tons of goods were transported by sea, with annual shipping exceeding £10 trillion, accounting for 80% of the world’s trade.1

Transporting goods on ships can be 17 times more fuel efficient than air, and 10 times more efficient than by road. However, the most recent figures suggested that shipping represents almost 3% of global CO2 emissions2, and is projected to rise to 10% if left unabated.3  There have been suggestions by some scientists that maritime shipping could account for 17% of total annual CO2 emissions by 2050 – a startingly high percentage. 

Like many other industries on the journey to Net Zero, shipping has been set a challenge to decarbonise, with an ambition to phase out greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions completely, in line with the Paris Agreement temperature goals. The International Marine Organization (IMO) is currently targeting a 50% cut in emissions from the global fleet by 2050 compared with 2008 levels, with at least a 40% reduction in carbon intensity by 2030. However, there is ever-growing industry and political pressure to raise that 50% goal to 100%…

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