Shipping Industry Awaits COP26 GHG Emissions Regulation Progress in Glasgow

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Monday November 1, 2021

The shipping industry is looking to Glasgow this week for signs of progress on global emissions targets at the COP26 meeting as the industry's own regulator faces increasing pressure to toughen its stance on decarbonization.

The UK is hosting this year's Conference of the Parties meeting in conjunction with Italy in Glasgow, with events running from October 31 to November 12. Global leaders including US President Joe Biden have flown to Scotland to take part.

A previous iteration of the regular meeting in 2015 produced the Paris Agreement, in which the signatories committed to reaching peak GHG emissions as soon as possible and keeping global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial temperatures. But little in the way of agreements at that scale is expected from this year's event.

For marine interests, this year the programme includes the International Chamber of Shipping's day-long event, Shaping the Future of Shipping, that will be held on Saturday November 6. Registration for a live stream of the event can be found here:

"The conference will address key strategic issues in shipping's rapidly evolving decarbonisation journey and will showcase it's efforts to decarbonise and deliver a sustainable and equitable future for the industry," ICS says.

Shipping was notably left out of the Paris Agreement in 2015, and IMO separately laid out an initial strategy that includes the IMO 2050 target of halving shipping's total GHG output from 2008's levels by 2050.

Since then a growing list of countries and companies now back a net zero emissions by 2050 target for shipping, a significant increase on the current ambition levels.

The Danish government is the latest to join this club, with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen calling for the target at COP26 on Wednesday, as well as saying "ambitious intermediary targets" should be set for shipping in 2030 and 2040.

However, Industry sources have suggested to Ship & Bunker that member states of the IMO may be waiting for signs of progress at COP26 before seeing if it needs to toughen its own initial strategy for decarbonisation.

Regardless of whether there are any revisions, it may also transpire that the industry needs to move faster than IMO targets with a growing number of companies, including most recently a group including Ikea and Amazon, saying by 2040 they will only use ships that burn zero carbon fuels.