UMAS shows what it would take for shipping to decarbonise by 2050

UMAS shows what it would take for shipping to decarbonise by 2050
Pathways and measures to shipping’s decarbonisation. Image courtesy of UMAS

Several infographics released by the University Maritime Advisory Services (UMAS) indicate what shipping would have to do to decarbonise to the 2050 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target set by the IMO.

To achieve the ambitious goal, which would see at least a 50 per cent reduction in GHG emissions from shipping by 2050 compared with a 2008 baseline, a combination of short, mid, and long-term policy measures will be required. These measures will enable the sector to switch to zero-carbon fuels and zero emission vessels (ZEVs), which need to enter the fleet as early as 2030.

The infographics show the deep emission cuts that will be needed to meet the IMO GHG targets and demonstrates that energy efficiency measures, whilst important, will not be sufficient on their own. It then highlights the huge potential of untapped renewable energy potential to produce low- or zero-emissions electro-fuels and what next steps are necessary to scale up these solutions. The infographics build on findings from nearly 10 years of research, such as Low Carbon Shipping & Shipping in Changing Climates projects and collaboration with Lloyd’s Register on Zero Emission Vessels (How do we get there and Transition Pathways).

Zero-carbon fuels for shipping. Image courtesy of UMAS

“In order to achieve the IMO’s GHG emission targets and align the shipping industry with the Paris Agreement temperature goals, shipping will need to move away from fossil fuels and switch to zero-carbon fuels as soon as possible. We hope the infographics will give interested stakeholders an overview of what this deep transition entails and which steps to take next to get it underway,” said Isabelle Rojon, consultant at UMAS.

Colin Robertshaw, doctoral researcher at UCL Energy Institute, explained: “Through consideration of the respective production processes there exists the potential to expand the range of alternative fuels that may be considered as compatible with decarbonisation of the maritime industry. In this way a number of alternatives that would otherwise be discounted, due to their emission characteristics as fossil-fuels, may be reconsidered in the form of biomass and renewable energy derived variants (i.e. bio- and electro-fuels).”

“Shipping will have to at least halve its emissions by 2050 and completely decarbonise under the 1.5 degrees temperature goal, we must not lose sight of this important long-term goal, which requires action now. The infographic summarises and is underpinned by almost a decade of research and suggests next steps to navigating decarbonisation in the sector,” stated Dr Nishatabbas Rehmatulla, principal consultant at UMAS.

UMAS states that the infographics are released under CC-BY-NC-ND license so that they can be shared widely and reused in presentations with attribution to UMAS.