It was evidently clear at the GST & Shipping2030 Europe Conference, that the maritime industry will adapt to regulations. The discussions about greenhouse gas emission reductions showed that stakeholders take global sustainability seriously. However, shipping is not taking decisions lightly, as there are plenty of challenges ahead.
So will the industry adapt? We spoke to Poul Woodall, Director of Environment and Sustainability at DFDS about the matter. Woodall has a positive outlook, but stays realistic about long-term GHG reduction goals.
Adapting to Emission Regulations
“They will adapt”, Woodall stated.
However, shipping’s decarbonisation to align the industry with the Paris Agreement and UN goals is expected to be a difficult journey.
The Challenges and Opportunities in Decarbonisation
“Financing is something that one has to take into account here”, Woodall said. “It’s a huge expense for the industry and society to go down the road that we want to go down. How we plan to do that and getting the timing right is going to be vital to how successful we are going to be. Those who are early out and the very ambitious could well be burning their fingers in the process and may not succeed. And if we wait too late as a society, we will all be in a much poorer state than we are today. So you have this balance. There’s definitely a need to do something urgently and radical. But again, if we move too fast, too many people will die in the process. Decarbonising is something we have to do. Our industry is a part of it, but we have to take that on our shoulders to find our path, and not only point at somebody else. It’s going to be very tricky. It’s going to be very expensive for the industry and society. We have to succeed. We don’t have the option of failure here, because failure is just something that cannot be allowed for next generations.”
Zero Emission by 2050?
Olof Widen, Senior Advisor at the Finnish Shipowner's Association, said that “the 2050 goal is achievable”, and indeed, Safety4Sea reported that zero emission ships could penetrate the market by 2030. However, the reality of a fully decarbonised industry is doubtful.
“Not by 2050”, Woodall said. “I don’t see that as realistic.”