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Top shipowners want to ban fossil fuels from new builds

The CEOs of five leading shipping companies have called for a phase-out date for fossil fuels on newbuilds at the COP28 climate conference.

If the heads of MSC, Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd and Wallenius Wilhelmsen have their way, the IMO, as the global regulatory authority, should create the legal conditions for an accelerated transition to environmentally friendly fuels. [ds_preview]

Global temperatures are exceeding critical levels, leading to increasingly frequent and devastating consequences. Shipping must therefore achieve the IMO targets for 2030, 2040 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050. This will only succeed if there is a large-scale and rapid switch from fossil fuels to green fuels.

In their joint declaration, they call for the definition of four regulatory cornerstones:

  • An end date for the construction of new ships powered exclusively by fossil fuels and a clear timetable for greenhouse gas intensity to provide investment certainty, both for new ships and for the fuel supply infrastructure needed to accelerate the energy transition.
  • An effective mechanism to price greenhouse gas emissions so that green fuel can compete with black fuel in the transition phase if both are used. Revenues should be channeled into an R&D fund and investments in developing countries.
  • Introduce pool solutions where the performance of a group of ships counts, rather than just a single ship, to accelerate the decarbonization of the entire global fleet.
  • A “well-to-wake” or life cycle regulation to align investment decisions with climate interests.

The signatories are convinced that regulation plays a key role in minimizing the costs of the green transition. However, the consequential costs of climate change are far higher. “The regulatory conditions must ensure that we save the most greenhouse gas emissions per dollar invested,” says Vincent Clerc, CEO of A.P. Møller-Maersk.

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