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Shipping Reduced CO2 Levels By 30% Over Decade

International shipping, including sea freight forwarding services, is leading the way at reducing climate change, as it has already cut its CO2 emissions from 2008 levels by 30 per cent.

According to the latest report from the International Council On Clean Transportation (ICCT), CO2 intensity of international shipping dropped by nearly a third between 2008 and 2018, Climate Change News revealed.

This means the industry’s climate change target for 2030 had almost already been achieved when it was set in 2017.

It is thought that overcapacity in ship transport supply resulted in a reduction of speed by 20 per cent between 2008 and 2015, which has helped contribute to this improvement. ‘Slow-steaming’ involves dropping a ship’s operational speed, and subsequently its fuel use, by not making the engine work at full throttle.

The report stated: “This suggests that the 2030 goal may be tightened when International Maritime Organisation (IMO) revises the strategy in 2023.”

ICCT’s programme director for marine and aviation Dan Rutherford, who was also one of the study’s authors, said the report highlighted the “need for the IMO to adapt a more stringent 2030 target”.

Despite international shipping accounting for between two and three per cent of global carbon emissions, it does not have to comply with the Paris Agreement, set up in November 2016.

This unites countries around the world to make an effort to combat climate change together. They are required to report regularly on their carbon output and how they are implementing environmentally-friend efforts within their states. This is to achieve the central goal of keeping the global temperature rise to below 2C above pre-industrial levels, or even limit it to 1.5C if possible.

By having to report their progress and be accountable for their climate change actions, this encourages each of the 55 parties to support the Paris Agreement by providing “enhanced transparency of action and support through a more robust transparency framework”.

Despite not being obliged by the Paris Agreement, the international shipping industry is making an effort to reduce its carbon output.

Indeed, earlier this week ICCT revealed that limiting engine power could be one way to cut down on CO2 emissions from fleets.

Its study showed that engine power limitation (EPL) of 30 per cent is thought to cut CO2 by two per cent for container ships and oil tanks, and three per cent for bulk carriers. However, 50 per cent or more EPL could see a carbon reduction of between eight and 19 per cent.

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) also recently reported that the industry is doing its bit to help tackle climate change, as it has created the world’s first collaborative shipping research and development (R&D) programme.

This obligates shipping companies to contribute funding of around £5 billion collectively to pay for R&D to decarbonise the sector.

Once this gets underway, it could see zero-carbon emission ships take to the sea on a commercial scale by 2030, dramatically reducing carbon output across the world.

Secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping Guy Patten said: “We must not leave it to others to carry the burden of addressing the climate crisis. “

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