Experts Canvass for Carbon Neutral Ships to Reduce Emissions

Transport experts have renewed the call for the introduction of carbon neutral ships in order to reduce black carbon emissions into the atmosphere.

The head of the Sustainable Mobility Unit at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Rob de Jong said that the current trend in the shipping industry is contrary to the global transport sector that is aiming for zero emissions.

“Some countries are already setting targets to switch their vehicle fleets to electric vehicles by 2030 and shipping must be part of this switch too,” de Jong said on the sidelines of the special session to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the UNEP in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

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Experts said that freight and shipping are growing and a business-as-usual scenario could see shipping contribute 10 percent to global carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

De Jong said that the introduction of carbon neutral ships should start by 2030 to be aligned with the Paris climate targets that aim at 2050.

The UNEP official said that even though shipping emissions of carbon dioxide, black carbon and methane are not covered by the Paris climate agreement, there was a need to reduce shipping emissions.

The head of the Partnerships and Projects Department at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Jose Matheickal said during the meeting that transformative initiatives were needed in the shipping industry.

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Matheickal disclosed that IMO is working with partners toward ensuring that the industry becomes climate-resilient.

The principal secretary of State Department of Shipping and Maritime in Kenya’s Ministry of Transport, Nancy Karigithu Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works, said there were plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in 2030 and 70 percent by 2050.

The experts also called for the development of a policy and strategy toward embracing alternative de-carbonization of Africa’s shipping sector through energy efficiency.

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