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Steps that must be taken to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping

On January 14th, IRENA held its 13th Assembly in Abu Dhabi and hosted a ministerial roundtable to bring together the maritime shipping industry and governments to discuss the steps needed to reduce carbon emissions in the shipping sector.

Roundtable focuses on strategies for renewable-based maritime fuels

At the roundtable, ministers had the opportunity to share their plans and strategies for the sector. Teresa Ribera, Spain’s Minister of Energy, spoke about her country’s goal to create renewable marine fuels, expressing:

"The decarbonisation of this sector needs to have a collaborative approach, involving the global shipping industry, governments, and international organisations. The time to act is now and IRENA is ready to play its part and support our membership to materialise ambition into action"

said Francesco La Camera, Director-General, IRENA.

The Director-General highlighted the importance of green hydrogen-based fuels in the decarbonisation of the shipping industry, noting that by 2050, the sector will need an estimated 50 million tons of green hydrogen annually to provide the necessary ammonia and methanol.

At the roundtable, ministers had the opportunity to share their plans and strategies for the sector. Teresa Ribera, Spain’s Minister of Energy, spoke about her country’s goal to create renewable marine fuels, expressing:

"We have been working on flagship projects in southern Spain to produce green hydrogen, methanol, and ammonia. Establishing a comprehensive framework will be crucial to the development of green hydrogen"

Ports play a crucial role in fostering demand for green fuels

At the session, Tom HauteKiet, Chief Commercial Officer of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, spoke about the part ports play in fostering the demand for green fuels. He noted that 80% of the money needed to make the transition to green shipping must be spent on the landside of shipping, and that ports can contribute to the green shipping movement by investing in decarbonizing their own vessels and services.

Geoffrey R. Pyatt, Assistant Secretary of State, Energy Resources, US, stated that his government has set ambitious targets for reducing maritime emissions, and that this will necessitate the collaboration of multiple federal agencies. He further noted that governments must take a leading role in decarbonizing ports by investing in cleaner technologies.

"The bipartisan infrastructure law includes US $17 billion to help electrify and decarbonise US ports and ramp up research and development on advanced batteries for maritime applications and zero-emission fuels"