A climate-smart, sustainable and resilient maritime sector


Today at COP27 maritime industry leaders launched a joint statement highlighting the urgent need for coordination at all levels to not only reduce emissions, but also to make the maritime industry more resilient and equitable.

At COP26 in Glasgow, nations reaffirmed their commitment towards the Paris Agreement temperature goal through the Glasgow Climate Pact. Decarbonizing global shipping is a critical part of reaching the Paris Agreement target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and building zero emissions, resilient global supply chains that billions of people rely on for food, energy, medicine and multiple other critical societal needs.

Today the shipping industry is the backbone of the world’s logistical supply chains, responsible for around 80% of all global trade and supported by 2 million seafarers. Accounting for 3% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which is expected to rise by 90-130% of 2008 emissions by 2050 without further action. Shipping is currently in the emerging stages of its transition from fossil fuels to zero-emission energy sources,with over 200 pilot and demonstration projects in the pipeline. However, this is not enough and we need to rapidly scale up our actions by the middle of this decade to make zero-emission ships the default choice by 2030 or before. We need at least 5% scalable zero-emission fuels in international shipping by 2030 in order to meet this as set out in the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign and 2030 Breakthroughs. Rapid growth in the use of zero-emission fuels must accelerate throughout the 2040s to achieve zero emissions aligned to IPCC science.

Solely focusing on decarbonizing the shipping industry is insufficient. A truly sustainable path forward for the sector is a systemic challenge and requires a whole-system approach that considers social and planetary boundaries. This means it must be just and equitable for workers, communities, consumers, and countries and take into account the varied and unpredictable impacts of a changing climate on vulnerable states, other natural disasters and sources of geopolitical uncertainty that have profound impacts on infrastructure, global supply chains, and, ultimately, people. These impacts are particularly acute for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs), therefore we must build the resilience of coastal and port infrastructure, natural ecosystems and the communities who are already being impacted.

Collectively, we are taking this whole-system approach to climate action by bringing together all levels of State and non-State actors from across the maritime ecosystem to radically collaborate and develop the technology, policies and incentives that are needed to enhance climate resilience, create decent work, ensure social inclusion and unlock inclusive sustainable economic growth.