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A pathway to decarbonise the shipping sector by 2050 | Irena

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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

  • Member since 2019
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  • Oct 21, 2021

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Urgent action is necessary to accelerate the pace of the global energy transition and the decarbonisation of the global economy. Green hydrogen-based fuels set to be the backbone for the sector’s decarbonisation.

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) Fourth GHG study 2020 reported that in 2018 global shipping energy demand accounted for nearly 11 exajoules (EJ), resulting in around 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) (international shipping and domestic navigation) and 3% of annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on a CO2 -equivalent basis. Fossil fuels. i.e. heavy fuel oil (HFO), marine gas oil (MGO), very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) and, more recently on a small scale, the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) currently provide up to 99% of the sector’s final energy demand.

International shipping enables 80-90% of global trade and comprises about 70% of global shipping energy emissions. If the international shipping sector were a country, it would be the sixth or seventh-largest CO2 emitter, comparable to Germany. Yet, international shipping emissions fall outside national GHG emission accounting frameworks.

In this context, this report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) explores the options and actions needed to progress towards a decarbonised maritime shipping sector by 2050 and seeks to identify a realistic mitigation pathway consistent with a wider societal goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C (degrees Celsius) and bringing CO2 emissions closer to net zero by mid-century.


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