US to work with Denmark to lead shipping decarbonisation

Concluding the Joe Biden-led global climate summit last Friday, Jennifer Granholm, the US secretary of energy, announced plans for America to work with Denmark to develop technologies to decarbonise international shipping.

Earlier last week John Kerry, the US climate envoy, said the US had changed tack on shipping and the environment and will now seek to work with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to ensure the industry emits zero emissions by 2050, a far more ambitious target than the current IMO goals which call for emissions cuts of at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008 levels.

Commenting via LinkedIn on Friday on the renewed green shipping stance of the US, Anne Steffenson, CEO of Danish Shipping, Denmark’s shipowners’ association, wrote: “If someone had asked me a few years ago what I thought the United States had of its ambitions to reduce shipping’s CO2 emissions, my short answer would have been: none.

“For several years, the American negotiators have played a very wait-and-see role in the negotiations in the IMO on how much global shipping should reduce CO2 emissions. They have clearly not had a mandate to work for the Green Party.

“This week, however, a very clear and very green mandate was given. Biden’s special climate envoy, John Kerry, proclaimed that the U.S. will now work for global shipping to be carbon neutral by 2050.

“This is huge news for Denmark as a maritime nation, which is pursuing a green course.”

Steffenson, a former ambassador, said that together Denmark and the US could take the lead at the IMO to speed up the work to get global climate regulations in place.

Back in Washington, secretary Granholm also announced on Friday that the department of energy will put forth new goals in the coming weeks for achievable leaps to lower the cost of next-generation clean energy technologies, including: clean, renewable hydrogen; battery cells for electric vehicles and energy storage; and industrial and atmospheric carbon capture. These are in addition to the department’s previously announced goal to cut the price of solar by more than half by 2030 as well as earlier commitments by the administration to boost offshore wind power with the US now on course to have 30 GW of energy from offshore wind farms supplying more than 10m homes by 2030.

Granholm commented: “These initiatives will move the US and the world forward on lowering emissions, deploying new technologies, and creating jobs so that we can do right by our planet and our people.”

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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