UMAS contributed to the design of the shipping sector commitments, which includes ambitious commitments for carriers and cargo owners.

The World Economic Forum, in partnership with US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, has today announced the First Movers Coalition – a new platform for companies to make purchasing commitments that create new market demand for low carbon technologies.

UMAS along with Global Maritime Forum, Aspen Institute and Mission Possible Partnership contributed to the design of the shipping sector commitments. For carriers, at least 5% of deep-sea shipping will be powered by zero-emission fuels by 2030, enabled by ships capable of using zero-emission fuels. For cargo owners, at least 10% of the volume of goods shipped internationally will be on ships using zero-emission fuels by 2030; on the way to 100% by 2040, a target that is in line with the recently announced Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels ( initiative, which UMAS also contributed to.

We have left GHG reductions so late that if we delay investment until policy solutions at the IMO are implemented, global trade risks a late and disruptive transition. First Movers Coalition builds on the approach by Cargo Owners for Zero Emission Vessels and the Sea Cargo Charter by mobilizing the customers of shipping to take responsibility for their maritime emissions – motivated also by the risks of disruption to their supply chains if we get this wrong. This is already making business cases for investment in the long-run hydrogen-based solutions this sector needs, and prepares shipping’s transition for the forthcoming implementation of IMO policies that can then further scale their deployment” said Dr Tristan Smith, Associate Professor at UCL Energy Institute and Director at UMAS.

Importantly, to qualify as being zero emissions fuels in newbuild and retrofitted vessels, fuels must have zero greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis, be sufficiently scalable to decarbonize the entire shipping industry when blended or used as standalones, address land use/sustainability concerns and can be used safely in time through appropriate training and standards. The platform and commitments do not include liquid natural gas (LNG) and drop-in fuels, carbon offsets, or other efficiency improvements. Leading analysis identifies that our goals are most likely to be accomplished with hydrogen-based fuels.

The Coalition will work across eight key sectors. Seven of these sectors which includes steel, cement, aluminum, chemicals, shipping, aviation, and trucking, account for more than a third of global carbon emissions, but do not have cost-competitive energy alternatives to fossil fuels. Founding members make a purchasing commitment in at least one of the sectors. Some of the founding members who have made commitments in the various sectors include A.P. Møller Mærsk, Amazon, Trafigura Group and Yara International.

Read more about the announcement by President Joe Biden at COP26

Read more details on the First Movers Coalition including the scope of the shipping sector commitments

Watch the launch of the First Movers Coalition