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with Peter Vis
The third sector I’d like to talk about is shipping. These two graphs show on the left-hand side the tonnages that are transported or expected to be transported by ships of different categories, from container ships to crude oil tankers and suchlike. You can see from the graph that tonnages of goods transported is expected to increase significantly. And, on the right-hand side, you see different projections of the emissions of CO2 from the shipping sector in the future and you can see in all of the various scenarios that are simulated the trend is unquestionably upwards and this is clearly problematic in a world where we are trying to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
So, there’s a big challenge ahead also for the shipping sector. Maritime transport is a significant source of emissions and its emissions constituted, they were comparable to the CO2 emissions of Belgium for instance in 2018, and according to the projections I have just shown are likely to increase significantly. If you look at where the emissions come from, a very substantial part of emissions would be covered by intra-European voyages and two thirds come from extra-European voyages. So, you know, we’ve got to try and do something in Europe that has maximum effect and the European Commission has recently made such proposals, which I will explain in a moment.
But the takeaway message from this slide is that shipping is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, pollution, and that it has to be reduced.
Shipping is regulated at international level by the International Maritime Organization, which is a UN Agency based in London and founded in the 1940s. International shipping like international aviation is not covered by the Kyoto Protocol that has applied until 2020. But the Paris Agreement does include all sources of emissions because the goals of the Paris Agreement are that temperature, average temperature increase at a global level would be limited to 2C by the end of this century and ideally by only 1.5C. Now, those temperature goals will only be reached if all sources of emissions are addressed.
You can’t just imagine that one or other sector be excluded because all sectors contribute, so it’s obvious that shipping is expected to take part in this, in this process of reducing emissions and the IMO does have a goal to halve its emissions by 2050 as compared to the levels in 2008. And indeed the IMO has taken a number of regulatory steps to improve the energy efficiency of new ships and indeed of existing ships as of 2023, the new ships it’s applicable from 2013, that helps reduce emissions. But if the total number of voyages from ships is increasing, as the graph showed previously, just being more efficient is not necessarily going to reduce emissions in absolute terms.
The other thing that the IMO requires is data collection, so shipping has to monitor its emissions of CO2, which is a start because what isn’t monitored can’t be controlled and so it’s a first step towards addressing emissions more specifically. The EU is taking further steps. It’s not only required the monitoring and reporting of emissions as of 2018 for large ships coming to and from EU ports, any port fact in the European Economic Area, but recently the Commission has proposed that shipping be included into the EU’s Emissions Trading System starting in 2023 progressively and by 2026 shipping will be completely covered and it will be half of the voyage for any journey that goes outside Europe, whether incoming or outgoing, half of the voyage will be covered by the scope of this system.
And, in the case of intra-European trips, then clearly both halves of the voyage would be covered by the country of destination and the country of departure, it’s going to mean that all of intra-European voyages would be covered by the Emissions Trading System. And what that will entail is that shipping owners or operators will have to acquire allowances from governments and they’ll have to pay for these allowances because they will be allocated by auctioning, for every tonne of emissions that they produce they’ll have to have an allowance to cover those emissions. And so there will be a revenue generated from their inclusion that can be used for a variety of purposes including funding innovation.
And an example of what the European Union is trying to do at the global level is it does fund Technology Cooperation Centres that are established in a number of regions of the world, will stay engaged in that respect and also stay engaged in the activities of the IMO that are trying to develop the IMO’s initial Climate Strategy.
We must remember that the choices we make as individuals have a climate impact when we choose to go on holiday. How we choose to get there, as an illustration, we can make choices there that might vary from the aircraft using air transport or using rail or car. And just as a reminder, this is the comparison of emissions of CO2 per kilometre travelled, and indeed the CO2 is the dark blue, the light blue is non-CO2 greenhouse gases, which in the case of aviation are significant contributors to global warming as well and yet as yet are completely unregulated, but this graph shows very clearly that aviation is the highest emitting mode of transport per kilometre travelled.
It’s interesting to see the extent to which a car occupied by just one passenger has very much higher emissions than a car occupied by four passengers. That’s to remind everyone to use their cars in as optimal way as possible, car sharing where possible, bringing other people with you reduces the emissions per passenger significantly. And rail is the lowest form of mass transit over all, especially when it’s electric trains running on emissions, greenhouse gas emissions-free technologies for generating electricity, which is the case for Eurostar, for example, the train that runs from London, Paris and Belgium.
So, that’s just a little reminder that we make choices every day about the method of transport we use and there are consequential, you know, differences in the carbon footprint of each of those modes. By way of conclusion, the key messages I’d like you to take away are that the transport sectors as a whole are difficult sectors to reduce the emissions of and regulatory pressure that is developing in the European Union, and indeed at the international level to a lesser extent, that sort of pressure is designed to accelerate technology innovation and fuel switching and the hope is that we will do so in a cost-effective way and we will see reductions in the cost of new technologies as their deployment increases over time.
Reaching the Paris Agreement’s temperature goals will be impossible without radical changes that are needed in the transport sector and road transport being the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions from transport is the first sector, perhaps, to concentrate on, but the international modes of aviation and shipping have to be, also efforts have to be made in those sectors. We need more stringent measures both in the IMO and in ICAO and and these UN Agencies so far have been far too slow in making progress in this area.

In this video, Peter illustrates the main issues around emissions coming from shipping and how they have been and are currently adressed at the international and EU level. At the end, he concludes with a summary on the difficulties associated with the emissions reduction coming from the transport sector and their significance in order to meet the Paris Agreement goals.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.

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