Australia rises to Green Shipping Challenge at COP27

The Australian Government today joined other nations at the COP27 launch of a global pledge to clean up the international shipping industry, as the world reduces emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

More than a billion tonnes of CO2 are emitted each year by seaborne ships, which rely on low-grade bunker fuel, accounting for almost 3 per cent of all carbon emitted by humankind.

Australia signed up to the Green Shipping Challenge in Sharm El-Sheikh after being invited to join by United States President Joe Biden at the Major Economies Forum in June. 

Australia’s Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy, attended today’s launch hosted by Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre and US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Change John Kerry.

With a focus on zero-emissions fuels and renewable energy infrastructure, the Green Shipping Challenge encourages countries, ports and shipping companies to announce actions at COP27 to align the industry with the 2015 Paris Agreement goal to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said Australia was working with other nations to clean up the seas.

“Emissions from the shipping sector are on an upward trajectory which is at odds with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” Minister Bowen said.

“One of the actions Australia is taking is to sign a Green Economy Agreement with Singapore that includes measures to implement green shipping corridors using technology to decarbonise the sector.

“Areas of collaboration with Singapore could include emissions-reduction operations at sea and at ports, assessing routes, alternative fuel use and bunkering, and infrastructure requirements.”

Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Catherine King said the challenge was a breakthrough for global transport.

“We are committed to harnessing new, greener technologies, including the use of alternative fuels and energy sources in shipping, to make a significant contribution towards addressing climate change,” Minister King said.

“Australia is already proactively supporting this by influencing and implementing International Maritime Organization environment regulation and investing in alternative fuels as well as partnering with other countries to establish a number of low and zero carbon shipping routes by 2035.

“I look forward to ramping up this action to reduce Australian shipping emissions.”

The move follows Australia’s membership of the Zero Emission Shipping Mission under Mission Innovation in September and the Clydebank Declaration established by 20 countries at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, last year.