German government backs upcoming shipping decarbonisation summit

The German government has backed an industry-led action plan to decarbonise shipping.

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) has pledged its support for the Ambition 1.5oC: Global Shipping’s Action Plan summit which will gather around 200 shipping industry representatives and delegates of the UN Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP23) on November 13 in Bonn.

“The need for shipping to contribute it’s ‘fair share’ of GHG reductions and to decarbonize quickly and deeply enough to meet the high ambition climate change target of limiting global temperatures to 1.5oC, as indicated in the Paris Agreement, has catalyzed the need for a business-focused approach that pushes ahead of regulatory mechanisms,” organisers of the summit said in a release today.

Jochen Flasbarth, BMUB’s state secretary, stated: “If international shipping were a country, it would already be the sixth largest emitter – and as such would rank even before Germany. As we are committed to decarbonisation at the national level to reach the ambitious long-term temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, we must also pursue immediate and ambitious action to reduce the GHG emissions of international shipping.”

Work undertaken during the industry-driven summit to develop the action plan will support industry ambition and the exploitation of opportunities presented by decarbonization. The group will use the reviewed and accelerated ‘pathway’ developed by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative as a framework for the action plan and resultant strategies held within the action plan will consider all active industry environmental work streams and initiatives. Following the summit, a briefing document will be delivered to UNFCCC delegates, national delegation focal points, the UNFCCC secretariat and all relevant national policy makers to influence discussions around shipping transportation at the core COP23 proceedings.

One of the summit organisers, Diane Gilpin, CEO at the Smart Green Shipping Alliance and a Splash contributor, commented: “The need for zero emission ships represents great opportunities for ambitious shipping companies. If we look to the land based industries already generating significant financial value from renewable energy we might be able to envision similar pathways for shipping.

Shifting, wherever possible, to renewables creates corporate resilience in an uncertain future. No one is pretending it’s easy, or there is a one-size-fits-all solution but that’s what makes it an exciting opportunity – we have a plethora of technologies, talent, and deep knowledge, and by creating ambitious collaborations we embark on an exciting global challenge together.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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