Shipping industry holds own summit at COP 23 climate meeting

The RheinFantasie, moored in the heart of Bonn and close to the main conference centre for UNFCCC, hosted the shipping summit      The 'RheinFantasie', moored in the heart of Bonn and close to the main conference centre for UNFCCC, hosted the shipping summit

The 23rd session of the UN’s Climate Change Conference, ‘COP 23’, took place in Bonn, Germany from November 6th – 17th. Under the aegis of the main conference, the ‘Ambition 1.5°C: Global Shipping’s Action Plan’ summit took place on November 13th.

Initiated by Gavin Allwright, Secretary of the International Windship Association (IWSA), and co-organised and sponsored by MAN Diesel & Turbo, the summit’s aim was to debate a shipping-industry-led agenda – with the participation of invited, influential industry-representatives and UNFCCC delegates – to exploit the opportunities presented by decarbonisation and create an action plan for the shipping industry.

Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO of MAN Diesel & Turbo, commented on events in Bonn and said: “The hopes and demands of the shipping industry for a strengthened mandate of the IMO were not fulfilled in Paris; Bonn offers us a new opportunity to accelerate what MAN Diesel & Turbo calls the ‘Maritime Energy Transition’, the move to cleaner technology within our industry. Ultimately, uniform environmental standards must be established at international level – a strong IMO as an international regulator is therefore essential.” Dr Gunnar Stiesch – Senior Vice President, MAN Diesel & Turbo and Head of Engineering Engines – was a panellist and held a presentation at Ambition 1.5°C that hosted a workshop on such topics as the future technology, new business models and regulatory frameworks that will enable the shipping industry to reach global climate goals. Stiesch said: “MAN Diesel & Turbo wants to expand the debate on how to reach COP 21’s targets. We want to engage with all stakeholders – whether the general public, NGOs, shipowners or classification societies – to see what solutions are already in place or required. Consequently, I am heartened by what I have heard today in Bonn where we have made significant progress, and am confident that our efforts here will ultimately bear fruit.”

Stemming from the summit’s proceedings, a briefing document will be delivered to UNFCCC delegates, providing a summary of the main challenges and opportunities offered by the decarbonisation of the shipping industry, the ambitious approaches agreed, and a copy of a draft action plan.

The term ‘Maritime Energy Transition’ stems from the German expression ‘Energiewende’ and encapsulates MAN Diesel & Turbo’s call to action to reduce emissions and establish natural gas as the fuel of choice in global shipping. It promotes a global ‘turn to gas’, driven by the IMO, and a common approach by the shipping industry and politics to invest in infrastructure development and retrofits. Launched in 2016 after COP 21, according to MAN Diesel & Turbo, the initiative has since found broad support within both the shipping industry and German politics.

By Jake Frith

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