New report points to significant progress on the 5% goal by industry, national governments, and positive developments at the IMO. 

The shipping industry is working towards full decarbonization by 2050 at the latest and last year an action plan was launched on which both private and public actors can focus their collective efforts around this and coming decades. 

The first-of-its-kind ‘Climate Action in Shipping Report – Progress towards Shipping’s 2030  Breakthrough’, launching on 21 September during New York Climate Week, prior to the Global  Maritime Forum Annual Summit, and in parallel with the Clean Energy Ministerial Global Clean Energy Forum, marks a significant milestone on the road to COP27 and provides an honest  stocktake of progress to date, highlighting where coordinated effort and collaboration is  needed. 

The report finds there has been “significant progress from industry, national governments and  positive developments at the IMO”, but converting those commitments into concrete  developments is vital for further progress. 

The study, led by Katharine Palmer, Shipping Lead for the UN High level Climate Champions  team, and Domagoj Baresic, Consultant at UMAS, evaluated the 2030 breakthrough goals  against key levers for change, which include: technology and supply, finance, policy, demand, and civil society action. 

The Getting to Zero Coalition – an industry led Coalition of more than 200 members from  across the maritime value chain in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Global  Maritime Forum – has contributed to the effort by validating progress against the five levers of  the action plan and held a Workshop in Copenhagen in June with Coalition members providing  significant input from the industry to the way forward achieving actions. 

In terms of progress on technology and supply of SZEF (Scalable Zero Emission Fuels), the  report found that shipping is only ‘partially on track’. While there are more than 200 shipping  decarbonization pilot and demonstration projects in the pipeline and progress has been  observed regarding bunkering and safety guidelines internationally, moving from pilots to  SZEF production commitments, investments, and infrastructure development is now a key  requirement. 

Domagoj Baresic, Consultant at UMAS said: In order for the shipping industry to  decarbonize, multiple actions which can increase production and adoption of scalable zero  emission fuels in the industry are required now. This report provides evidence for the  significant progress which has been made to decarbonize shipping, yet at the same time  shows that further significant action is required. The evidence presented shows now is the  time to take the necessary actions to ensure that by 2030 the industry is committed to a  decarbonization trajectory.” 

Based on UMAS analysis, it is expected that the industry will have to commit to investing  around US$40 billion annually by 2030 for SZEF bunkering and production, and the report  points to the need for greater clarity on funding commitments for SZEF production  infrastructure. 

It adds that current orders for SZEF-ready ships should increase further, whilst a genuine zero  carbon freight market is expected to emerge. 

On policy, the authors said that it is vital that positive policy signals, such as consensus on  pricing GHG emissions, translate into firm agreements at the IMO in 2023, with the coming  year offering an important window of opportunity before the revision of the IMO’s Greenhouse  Gas Strategy.

Katharine Palmer, Shipping Lead at the UN High level Climate Champions team said: To achieve the 2030 Breakthrough goal we need near-term project level action describing  tangible, collective action required. This report acts as an honest stocktake of progress which  needs to continue to be monitored and tracked. In the run -up to COP27, this is an important  milestone to signal a true shift to delivery to convert these commitments and pledges to actions  and solutions” 

The UMAS and UN High level Climate Champions report, supported by the Getting to Zero  Coalition, Lloyd’s Register and the Mission Possible Partnership, follows the October 2021  publication of an action plan by UN Climate Change High Level Champions, UMAS and the  Global Maritime Forum setting out the specific near-term actions and milestones around which  businesses and governments can unite based on the 2030 Breakthroughs from the High-Level Climate Champions. 

The full report “climate action in shipping” can be downloaded here