At the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim is calling for renewed cooperation from all stakeholders to tackle the urgent issues of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from shipping.
“When temperature records are routinely broken, icecaps are melting and some parts of the world are flooding while others are burning, there can be little doubt that addressing climate change must be humankind’s major priority,” he told fellow leaders.
IMO’s strategy is to reduce sector-wide emissions by at least 50% by 2050. To deliver this, significant numbers of zero-carbon ships, or ships that can be easily adapted to use low or zero carbon fuels later in their life, will have to enter the fleet as early as the 2030s, Mr Lim said.
Stressing the vital role of IMO’s as the shipping industry’s global regulator, he said, “Ambitious regulatory targets will act as the catalyst for technology, triggering research, development and innovation,” adding “now is the time to start developing the vessels, the fuels, the delivery mechanisms and all the other necessary infrastructure to support zero-emission shipping.”
Turning specifically to the need for a collective approach throughout the entire global supply chain, he said, “Collaboration in this area is likely to include developing and testing low or zero-carbon fuels; better communication and planning over berth availability to help with speed-optimization and just-in-time arrival; and supplying cleaner on-shore power for ships in port.”
Mr Lim was also keen to stress that planning for a zero-carbon shipping industry cannot be done in isolation. “Infrastructure developments and investment decisions also need to be made collaboratively,” he said. “Research and development initiatives need to be cross-sectorial. New technologies need to be transferable and scalable.”
The World Economic Forum in Davos brings world leaders together to discuss progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. Mr Lim is addressing a number of different fora on how shipping, transport and the supply chain as a whole can make a successful transition to a low or zero carbon future and contribute to global sustainability.