Shipping will not reach net zero without a carbon tax says industry report
The global shipping sector is going in the wrong direction when it comes to net zero commitments, as it is currently at risk of registering a 20 per cent increase in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
According to a report from Maersk McKinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, at the current pace only 22 per cent of the industry will be completely carbon free by 2050. The container industry will lead the transition, with tankers and dry bulk trudging behind.
“The transition doesn’t happen by itself because the ways of decarbonising are more expensive than just continuing to run on fossil fuels,” Bo Cerup-Simonsen, head of the independent Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, told Reuters.
The main challenge for the shipping industry is the price of fuel, as fossil fuels cost usually less than sustainable ones. According to the research, the best way for the industry to reach net zero is to introduce carbon pricing policies. “Carbon pricing can change consumption behaviour by making alternative fuels more attractive compared with fossil fuels,” read the paper.
“[The] introduction of a global carbon levy in 2025 means that the industry needs to act today and if delayed would require even higher levies to achieve decarbonisation over a shorter time period.”
Introducing a carbon levy where funds are earmarked and returned to those who transitioned early would help to close the gap in fuel cost and could produce around $2tn, adding a much lower cost for consumers.
At the same time, a growth in alternative fuel production and a reduction of price should also take place if the industry wants to maintain its 2050 net zero pathway.
“It is a daunting challenge, but we can’t let the complexities and risks paralyse us. As individuals, as leaders and as a responsible shipping sector, we must all play an active role,” added Cerup-Simonsen.