New distress signal for maritime industry and planet

With only two weeks left until the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, emissions reduction has never been higher on the agenda for the maritime industry.

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, recently called the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report “a code red for humanity”. Shortly after, world leaders received the Call to Action for Shipping Decarbonisation, a message from more than 150 industry leaders and organisations urging them to take decisive actions to accelerate the transition to zero emissions shipping.

“We stand firmly behind this call to action and urge the whole industry to follow and move rapidly on decarbonisation. The time to act is now. Our planet is in distress,” says Yara Marine Technologies’ CEO, Dr. Thomas Koniordos.

YMT provides a portfolio of green technologies, such as SOx scrubbers, fuel optimisation systems, the wind-assisted propulsion system WindWings, and bespoke shore power solutions.

“International shipping ties the world together,” says Koniordos. “Our industry carries over 80% of global trade, and trade volume is expected to triple by 2050. According to the European Environment Agency, shipping is one of the cleanest modes of transport, but as trade grows, shipping emissions continue to increase exceeding one billion tons of CO2 each year. For every ship we build, every gallon of fuel we burn, and every ton we move – we leave a mark. To keep the world connected – sustainably – we must reduce our industry’s footprint as fast as possible. We must change course and steer towards zero emissions. The public demands it, governments demand it, and the future demands it.

“Our industry has the skillset to create new solutions and the drive to see them through. Now, we at Yara Marine Technologies reinforce our commitment and stand ready to help the industry achieve the necessary green transition. If we all work together towards this common goal, we can cut emissions and strengthen the industry at the same time.”

Speaking at the Global Sustainable Transport conference, Guterres said: “Let’s be honest. While [UN] member states have made some initial steps through the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to address emissions from shipping and aviation, current commitments are not aligned with the 1.5C goal of the Paris agreement. In fact, they are more consistent with warming way above 3C.”

Both aviation and shipping are expected to face greater scrutiny over their carbon footprint when COP26 delegates gather in Glasgow at the end of the month, reports Splash. Shipping will also find out what upcoming environmental legislation is agreed upon when the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meets next month.

“Adopting a new set of more ambitious and credible targets that are truly consistent with the goals of the Paris agreement must be an urgent priority for both these bodies [ICAO and IMO] in the months and years ahead,” Guterres says.

Guterres also called for zero-emission ships to be made commercially available by 2030.

YMT’s response is a new distress signal: Save Our Planet – SOP.

The company says it has made the signal to highlight shared urgency, to encourage the maritime industry and all its stakeholders to face this challenge without further delay, and to inspire the industry to embrace this opportunity for change, collaboration, and innovation.

“We will light the beacon, but we need you to pass it forward. Endorse this movement and help us broadcast SOP by creating your own version of the distress signal, and by using the hashtags #SOP and #SaveOurPlanet,” says Koniordos.

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