A $5 billion fund is to be created to look at innovative ways in which the maritime industry can reduce its carbon footprint.
The proposal comes from a coalition of leading shipping nations and developing countries – Georgia, Greece, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Singapore, Switzerland.
It is also co-sponsored by all of the world’s major international shipowners’ associations: BIMCO, Cruise Lines International Association, IMCA, INTERCARGO, INTERFERRY, International Chamber of Shipping, INTERTANKO, IPTA and the World Shipping Council.
The proposal addresses various legal operational, administrative, legal and governance aspects put forward by governments at MEPC 75.
Ina statement the industry partners said they welcomed the “moon-shot” proposal from governments to set up the $5 billion fund to “catalyse the vital research and development needed to help shipping meet UN decarbonisation goals”.
Shipping leaders are calling on governments to “be on the right side of history” and take forward the proposal at a critical meeting in June with a view to approval in November. The leaders added that zero-emission ocean going ships deployed at the scale required by 2030 would be “near impossible” if this proposal is not supported by UN IMO member states.
The fund will support a new International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) to commission collaborative programmes for the applied research and development R&D of zero-carbon technologies, specifically tailored for maritime application, including development of working prototypes. It will also assist CO2 reduction projects in developing countries, including Pacific island nations.
“The shipping industry is urging all governments to approve this mature moon-shot proposal – led by major shipping nations at a critical IMO meeting in London in November 2021, which will coincide with the next UN Climate Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow,” added the statement.
“This is the only fully detailed proposal available to deliver the speed and scale called for by UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. Failure by UN member states to support this initiative could significantly set back progress towards the decarbonisation of shipping.”
The shipping sector said decarbonisation can only take place with a significant acceleration of R&D, as zero-carbon technologies do not yet exist that can be applied at scale to large ocean-going ships.
“A well-funded R&D programme, which the industry has agreed to pay for within a global regulatory framework, needs to commence immediately under the supervision of the UN IMO,” the statement added.
Recognising the urgency and ambition required to decarbonise, shipping industry groups are calling for all governments to be on the right side of history in supporting this ambitious proposal.
“International shipping transports more than 80 per cent of global trade and emits 2 percent of global emissions. The big challenge is not building a single zero carbon ship, the big challenge is creating the technologies needed to decarbonise the entire global fleet at speed and scale. The sooner the IMO Maritime Research Fund is established, the sooner industry can develop zero emission ships to decarbonise maritime transport,” it concluded.