China’s maritime industry is expected to accelerate its energy transformation process as the country is now targeting peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by the year 2060.
The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, announced new, more ambitious national environmental targets in an address to the United Nations General Assembly this week, something that the country’s maritime sector – which is still primarily state-run – will need to heed.
“The emission targets provide a timetable for the major carbon emission contributing industries including the maritime to transform their energy structure,” said Zhang Lingfang, a professor at Dalian Maritime University.
Zhang said a huge volume of research and development projects for greener ships including alternative ship fuel and eco designs at domestic institutes were already in advanced stages of development.
Mark Darley, the Shanghai-based chief operating officer for marine and offshore at UK class society Lloyd’s Register, told Splash that Xi’s announcement on emission targets was a major step forward not just for maritime but for the whole world.
“Maritime and the industry heavyweights are playing their part in supporting this transition. We are now seeing more and more design houses, yards and owners developing solutions across a variety of ship types,” Darley said.
Domestically, with a large volume of intra-China goods transferred by the country’s waterways, China has continued to develop its domestic gas bunkering capability and more international gas import deals have been secured, replacing its reliance on higher carbon options, Darley pointed out.
Many shipments along China’s longest river, the Yangtze, are among the greenest in the world these days thanks to a huge riverine fleet renewal programme in recent years.
“One only has to look at what China maritime has been able to achieve in the last 30 years to know that these 2060 targets are a serious indication and ultimately achievable. But, as ever, it will require collaboration from all industry stakeholders to make it a reality,” Darley pointed out.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Cosco, China’s largest maritime group, told Splash: “Energy saving and emission reduction has always been an important strategy of the group’s development and we have conducted a series of measures including increasing our investment in the development and upgrade of green ship technologies and clean energy. We have set a target of decreasing our carbon emission intensity by 40% by 2030 from the 2008 level.”