Climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by maritime shipping sector

On the final day of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) conference in London, far-reaching agreements were set down regarding a substantial reduction of CO2 emissions by the maritime shipping sector. The 173 IMO Member States have agreed that by 2050, total CO2 emissions by international shipping must be halved vis-à-vis 2008, whereupon the sector must go fully climate-neutral as soon as possible. In order to achieve these goals, an interim step has been set down: by 2030, ship-sourced emissions must be reduced by an average of 40 per cent. The agreements constitute a significant step in the further elaboration of measures to expedite the greening of the international shipping sector.

Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management): ‘I am pleased with this global agreement. The international agreements regarding cleaner seagoing vessels will enhance our maritime sector and benefit the climate. Within the IMO, the Netherlands has continued to pursue concrete, viable goals, in view of the Cabinet’s aim to sustainabilise maritime shipping, in addition to inland shipping and our ports. In the Netherlands, we are already conducting tests involving cleaner fuels for ships and later this year, we will launch pilot projects involving electric vessels. These new international agreements will support the shipping sector that is already making investments in a sustainable fleet, and will inspire other nations to effect a similar transition.’

Increasingly sustainable seagoing vessels

Worldwide, the maritime shipping sector accounts for 2.5 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris climate agreement did not comprise any specific stipulations regarding the reduction of international shipping emissions. The UN organisation IMO has since worked on additional agreements aimed at reducing ship-sourced CO2 emissions in the decades ahead. In coming years, the agreements on reduction will be elaborated into a strategy and concrete measures for the sustainabilisation of ships, for example, by using cleaner fuels and more energy-efficient designs.

Maritime strategy

Earlier this year, the Maritime Strategy Working Programme was signed, under which shipping companies, maritime and inland shippers, ports, and the government bodies involved will tackle the challenges in the fields of sustainabilisation, innovation, and cyber security. The Dutch inland navigation sector has also set down agreements to sustainabilise inland vessels. Yesterday, Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen and the inland navigation sector signed the Declaration of Nijmegen, in which the inland navigation sector commits to, inter alia, climate neutrality by 2050.