As the interconnector of global trade shipping facilitates every other part of the economy, and decision making around low-carbon pathways in other transport modes and industries will both influence and constrain decarbonisation in shipping.
Whatever the outcomes at UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris the shipping sector faces a huge challenge of rapid decarbonisation. Clear emission reduction goals and unequivicol leadership is essential. The shipping sector’s energy efficiency improvements are to be commended but to meet the scale and speed of decarbonisation necessary to reach the globally agreed 2 degree target step change technologies need to be rapidly developed.
The White House recently announced that 81 companies with a combined market capitalization of $5trillion have now signed up to the President’s Clean Power initiative. More are expected to join. President Obama met with the CEOs of Johnson & Johnson, Intel, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Hershey’s and Pacific Gas & Electric — and, of crucial importance to shipping, with some of the smaller companies that supply them. The White House expects that the commitments made by the big companies will trickle down through their supply chains, encouraging energy efficient practices throughout the global economy. “This effort to push companies through their supply chains is significant, ” said Brian Deese, the White House spokesman on climate change. “When a large company sets certain goals, it can spur action across the supply chain though the adoption of clean energy and emissions reductions.”
The global market will demand the shipping sector provides a low carbon supply chain. As technological development happens rapidly in other less conservative sectors competition for low-carbon fuels or power from the grid will be rife and prices will increase.
Shipping has an option where it has exclusive access to a free and abundant power source that others cannot harness, that is wind propulsion.
The International Windship Association (IWSA) exists to demonstrate the commercial opportunities arising from various tested and validated technologies that embrace this ‘free’ renewable fuel.
Gavin Alwright secretary general of the IWSA said: “Wind propulsion is a commercially expedient approach to rapidly reducing emissions without compromising the efficiency for which the shipping industry is justifiably renowned.In light of the global focus on rapid emission reductions it is time for the maritime sector to explore the opportunities offered by modern wind propulsion solutions.”
The International Windship Association (IWSA) facilitates and promotes wind propulsion for commercial shipping worldwide and brings together all parties in the development of a wind-ship sector to shape industry and government attitudes and policies.