Director of Policy, UK Chamber of Shipping
Our oceans provide sources of food and unique wildlife and impact our climate and the air we breathe. They are also vital conduits for shipping and transportation.
Shipping takes its responsibility to protect oceans seriously and has already made steps to do so by, for example, switching fuels to help improve air quality around our coasts. Travelling more slowly to try and avoid whale strikes; reducing single-use plastics; and investing in research to greater understand the impact of underwater noise on wildlife are all initiatives currently underway.
How to make shipping more ocean-friendly
Although transport by sea is the most carbon-efficient mode of transport, the greatest impact shipping can have to protect our oceans is by reducing its carbon emissions.
The industry faces a crucial few months as key decisions are made on a decarbonisation pathway for shipping. We are clear that current international targets to cut shipping emissions by 50% by 2050 don’t go far enough, and we need to see greater ambition. However, this can only be achieved through international agreement.
Current international targets to cut shipping emissions by 50% by 2050 don’t go far enough.
International and local net zero commitments
We are working with partners to show why it is imperative that the International Maritime Organisation, the UN body that will agree on new targets next month, commits to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. We also need the UK Government to be using its diplomatic weight to convince other countries to agree to this more ambitious target.
Later this year, we will also see a refreshed Clean Maritime Plan. This is the UK’s blueprint for how to reduce greenhouse gases and wider pollutants from the maritime sector. This plan must work alongside international agreements and targets so that we have an accurate picture of the progress shipping is making to decarbonise. Crucially, it also needs to build on the limited public funding to date with significant new investment.
Local investment can help protect seas and oceans
New research and development; a financial environment that rewards green investment; and an infrastructure system that can support shipping on its decarbonisation pathway will all require public investment. This is already happening elsewhere in the world and is helping to unlock significant private funding.
If we can achieve both the right targets and appropriate investment, the UK can be a global leader and blueprint for how to decarbonise shipping and help protect the seas and oceans — not just around our coastline, but across the wider world.