Maritime industry given map to future at COP26

Published: 12/11/2021

As the sun sets on a fantastic fortnight of events focusing the world on climate change and decarbonisation, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency are determined to keep the light on the progress made.

The agency took part in several maritime-focussed events, with Chief Executive Brian Johnson outlining our vision of a sustainable future and how we are forging a path to it.

And the message from the event has been unequivocal; change must happen now before it is too late.

The Department of Transport took the opportunity to launch the Clydebank Declaration on Wednesday 10 November to show the UK’s commitment to driving forward change.

Signatory states – including the UK – declared their ambition and intent to support the establishment of green shipping corridors, which are zero-emission shipping routes between two ports.

The naming of the Clydebank Declaration pays tribute to the heritage of the City of Glasgow and the River Clyde where the Declaration was signed on 10 November 2021.

The Declaration sits within the Zero-Emission Shipping Mission – a collaboration between the Global Maritime Forum, the Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller Center – and is designed to complement work at the International Maritime Organization to enable zero-emission shipping. The MCA will work alongside DfT partners to work on establishing the first corridor.

Brian also joined maritime experts from the Forum and the Centre on Monday at the ‘Decarbonising shipping in line with the Paris Agreement: What will it take?’ event; to shine a spotlight on the barriers the industry faces. He spoke about the recent IPCC report, which labels the climate crisis as a ‘code red for humanity’.

“It is a real wake-up call and really shows we’ve got to work harder”, he said.

The talk focused on how green fuelling and use of renewable technology could positively impact emission reductions in the Nordic and North Sea areas, which are among the world’s busiest in terms of the volume of marine traffic.

He was also privileged to be among the first to see the potential of the projects in development for DfT’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition (CMDC), with a special showcase put on during COP26. Five of the 55 projects – awarded a slice of the £23 million funding to find sustainable solutions for the maritime industry – were on display at Tuesday’s event, from portside infrastructure and providing e-charging hubs to the design of a hydrogen-powered uncrewed vessel.

Brian Johnson said: “It has been a wonderful opportunity for us to show the world how we are supporting the UK Government’s decarbonisation targets in the maritime sector, and to talk about the work of our Maritime Future Technologies team.

“We have built strong relationships with industry and partners and we are particularly inspired by this week’s announcement of Green Shipping Corridors, progress that is key to furthering decarbonisation efforts in the industry.

“Seeing some of the projects that have been awarded funding by the Department of Transport at the CMDC was also a revelation, there are so many ideas in development that could make such big differences, from alternative fuels and energy demands to the infrastructure needed to implement it.

“I have spent the week discussing and debating the next steps in reducing carbon emissions in shipping and feel COP26 has been vital in finding a way forward together.”