The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has published its 4th Greenhouse Gas (GHG) study, and BIMCO finds the results very encouraging, as data confirms the industry can reach the 50% lower IMO emissions target in 2050.

“This study shows that it is possible to reach the 2050 ambition,” says Lars Robert Pedersen, BIMCO Deputy Secretary General.

Pedersen highlights that the demand scenarios – ie the future demand for seaborne transport in the world – look realistic and are in line with other contemporary studies done, for example by DNVGL. That said, they are probably at the higher end of the spectrum, as the drastic effects from the COVID-19 pandemic has not been incorporated into the projections, and the lower economic activity will have an impact – at least in the short term.

According to the study, international shipping accounted for around 2% of global CO2 emissions in 2018. The study projects that in 2050, global CO2 emissions from shipping will be between 10% lower and 30% higher than in 2008, depending on a range of plausible long-term economic and energy scenarios. In 2018, CO2 emissions from shipping was 10% below 2008 levels.

“This study can be used to tell us what we actually need to do, and how much we need to do, to reach the ambition level of the IMO-strategy,” Pedersen says.

Now, the shipping industry needs sustained research and development to make zero-emission technology a commercial reality.

“Through the International Maritime Research Fund we can “crowd-source” funding from the entire sector to spend on innovation and technology needed to build zero-emission ships. When you add that to the big initiatives taken by some of the large companies in the industry, I think it is realistic to build a zero-emission ship by the end of this decade,” he says.

The International Maritime Research Fund is an industry proposal to the IMO to levy 2 USD per ton of fuel – an estimated 5 USD billion over 10 years – and use the money to fund innovation and research.

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