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Shipping must switch to renewable hydrogen fuels by 2040 to hit IMO targets, Lloyd’s List webinar hears

IMO’s revised greenhouse gas strategy requires shipping companies to make the green transition around 2040

IMO’s more ambitious climate targets will position the shipping industry to succeed in its green transition, according to panellists on a Lloyd’s List webinar 

THE entire shipping fleet needs to make the transition to renewable hydrogen-derived fuels in 2040 to hit revised targets by the International Maritime Organization, according to Tristan Smith, associate professor in energy and transport at University College London.

“To get to those revised strategy targets, the average ship’s greenhouse gas intensity needs to be 90% lower in 2040. There’s no way you can do that unless, not just the average ship, but the entire fleet has transitioned to hydrogen-derived fuels by around 2040,” Smith said during a Lloyd’s List webinar.

The IMO’s revised GHG strategy aims to cut emissions by 20% by 2030 and 70% by 2040 as well as a headline net zero emissions target in or around 2050.

“We have said we will adopt a carbon price in 2025. So we’re not in a sector that has that hypothetical issue. We’re in a transition where these things are all in place.”

IMO member states promised to adopt economic and technical measures to complement its revised strategy at this year’s Marine Environment Protection Committee. The technical measure is highly likely to be a global fuel standard, while there are multiple economic measure options including a GHG levy or a fund and rebate mechanism.

Having a global regulator that will actually enforce these targets makes it much more stronger proposition, according to Katharine Palmer, shipping lead at the UN Climate Champions team.

“We’re not really expecting to have clarity on the regulation, at least for the next couple of years. So there does need to be some action taken in the meantime,” said Helen Barden, senior solicitor at NorthStandard P&I.

Meanwhile, Smith also said the debate on LNG’s role as a marine fuel has been closed, as it was very hard to operate on LNG beyond 2030 owing to IMO’s new strategy.

“[The] methanol or ammonia debate will continue for another 12 months, but it [LNG] will get closed down very quickly. We’ve already seen Wärtsilä’s announcement on ammonia engines this week.” 


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