UK calls for zero global shipping emissions by 2050

Marking the start of London International Shipping Week, the UK government called today for an absolute zero target for international shipping emissions by 2050.

This target, which would need to be agreed through the International Maritime Organization, would be a significant increase of ambition for the sector.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “As a maritime nation with a rich history, and host of COP26 this year, we are proud to be at the forefront of the greener era for maritime, charting an international course for the future of clean shipping.”

Shapps said zero emission commercial vessels would be operating in UK waters in the next few years and green English Channel crossings are likely within a decade.

“Taking action now allows us to lead the charge on this global shift, creating highly skilled jobs for British workers and shaping the landscape for what clean shipping and trade will look like for future generations,” Shapps said.

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.


  1. This is more complete fantasy. If shipping is to be a zero emitter of carbon dioxide in 28 years then considering that ships can easily have a working lifespan of 30+ years and the cost of a future ‘re-engine’ can be more than the value of the ship, then all ships currently in construction and going forward will need to be fitted with zero CO2 emitting power plants. Other than nuclear (which would be a catastrophic path to go down due to the risks from terrorism / rouge states) could those who spout this nonsense about zero CO2 let the shipowners and builders know what technology is available to fulfil their ideology (technology available now, not technology that may or may not work at some date in the future, be scalable and not simply move the CO2 emissions from onboard to shore).

    I don’t disagree that we, as a planet, urgently need to reduce CO2 emissions, but I do think that if there was serious government concern then they would be eliminating much of the need for ships to actually trade in the first place by returning production and industry back to the UK (much of which relocated due to the carbon and energy taxes imposed by the government).

    1. It is Grant Shapps, who has proven to be less than the sharpest knife.
      Also, nuclear wud not be a disaster, contrary to its detractors.
      There are many options open, such as the moves by Maersk, but proclamations from the UK gov. about climate are a joke.
      You also know little about why industry moved from the UK. It was cheap labour and had nothing to do with carbon and energy taxes. You no doubt also remember the :Me-Me-Me” Thatcher years of anti-industry etc.

Back to top button