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UK calls for zero global shipping emissions by 2050 as greenest ever London International Shipping Week begins

  • UK to push for international shipping emissions to reach absolute zero by 2050
  • Transport Secretary sets out ambitious global 2050 target as UK Government launches greenest ever International Shipping Week
  • Vision of zero emission vessels entering into commercial service by 2025 opening the possibility for cleaner and greener channel crossings in the next decade.

Marking the start of the greenest London International Shipping Week yet, the UK backs a world leading absolute zero target for international shipping emissions by 2050, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced today (Monday 13th September).

This target, which would need to be agreed through the International Maritime Organization, would be a significant increase of ambition for the sector, which is currently accountable for 3% of global emissions.

This announcement comes as the Government launches the greenest ever London International Shipping Week, building on a string of initiatives aimed at slashing emissions and establishing the UK as international leaders in green maritime.

At a speech on Wednesday 15 September, the Transport Secretary will announce the winners of the multimillion pound Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, focused on innovative green maritime solutions, launched as part of the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point plan for a green industrial revolution last November.

He is also expected to reassert the importance of building a thriving maritime sector focused on innovation, highlighting his ambition to have zero emission vessels entering into commercial service by 2025 which opens the possibility for cleaner and greener channel crossings in the next decade.

These initiatives follow on from commitments outlined in the world-leading Transport Decarbonisation Plan to explore the establishment of a UK Shipping Office for Reducing Emissions (UK SHORE), a dedicated unit within the Department for Transport focused on decarbonising the maritime sector.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:
“As a maritime nation with a rich history, and host of COP26 this year, we are proud to be at the forefront of the greener era for maritime, charting an international course for the future of clean shipping.
“I’m incredibly excited by the changes happening in this sector, with the speed of progress highlighted by the prospect of zero emission commercial vessels in UK waters in the next few years and green Channel crossings within a decade.
“Taking action now allows us to lead the charge on this global shift, creating highly-skilled jobs for British workers and shaping the landscape for what clean shipping and trade will look like for future generations.”

As the greenest shipping week to date, the UK is focused on working in collaboration with the sector to build a strong sustainable future for UK maritime. As recently published in the intergovernmental panel on climate change report, warming is happening quicker than previously estimated, therefore action is needed across all sectors and the UK will do all it can to slash emissions from shipping.

Throughout the week Ministers and industry will be leading a host of events taking stock of the sector’s progress:

Kicking off with a Ministerial roundtable at the Foreign Office on Monday 13 September, leaders from across the sector will discuss how to level up all parts of the UK with a focus on its decarbonisation, coastal communities and port towns and industries.

The Department will publish its Biennial Report on Tuesday, outlining the strength of the sector, the next phase for its recovery from the pandemic, and progress on our ambitious Maritime 2050 strategy.

On Wednesday the Transport Secretary will announce the winners of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, while the Maritime Minister, Robert Courts will be at Port of Southampton opening the newest cruise terminal which is the greenest one yet.

Minister Courts is also set to take centre stage on Thursday Evening at the coveted Gala Dinner in the iconic National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, the heart of British maritime, where he will outline the future for UK maritime and the opportunities that exist as we build global trading networks.

The week will be rounded off with the Maritime Minister joining Mersey Maritime at the end of the week for its annual Awards event, where he will present the DfT Maritime 2050 Award – celebrating industry action towards our shared Maritime 2050 ambitions.