The shipping industry and the climate
Book chapter, 2022

As by 2020, the past six years, including 2020, are likely to be the six warmest years on record and the global mean temperature was 1.2°C above the preindustrial level [1]. International agreements, the Kyoto Protocol (1997) and the Paris agreement (2016), has set the aim to keep a global temperature rise during this century well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The anthropogenic inflow of GHGs to the atmosphere from the shipping industry was estimated by the IMO to totally around 2.5–3% of the global emissions in 2018 (or 1076 million tonnes). This is an increase by 9.6% since the previous study in 2014. The IMO projects the future emissions to increase from 1000 Mt CO2 in 2018 to 1000 to 1500 Mt CO2 in 2050 in a “Business as Usual”, BAU, scenario. Two years after the Paris agreement, the IMO adopted a vision, followed by a plan for implementation, in which a global goal of 50% reduction in GHG emissions from shipping by 2050 compared to 2008, and a total phase-out “within this century” is stated. Action from the IMO has started with a data collection system for fuel oil consumption. Ships of >5000 gross tonnage are required to collect consumption data fuel oil use and data on transport work. The European Union has started work on emission decrease with demands on Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of CO2 emissions from large ships (>5000 tonnes) using EU ports. Also here further measures are expected. At present here are many different initiatives, internationally, from countries as well as from shipping companies and shipowners to find ways towards “zero carbon shipping”. The different regulations and incentives introduced will help on the way, but still there is a need for more strict regulations or stronger incentives. The present initiatives give a large potential to make shipping and sea transport an important player also in a carbon neutral, sustainable society.


Shipping's contribution

Environmental impacts



Climate change

“Zero-carbon shipping”


Karin Andersson

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Maritime Studies

Sustainable Energy Systems on Ships: Novel Technologies for Low Carbon Shipping

9780128244715 (ISBN)

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Other Environmental Engineering

Energy Systems

Marine Engineering



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