Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

22 Countries Agreed To Establish Green Shipping Routes. That’s Big News.

November 30, 2021

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Jan Stockbruegger recently wrote, "22 Countries Agreed To Establish Green Shipping Routes. That’s Big News," which explains why a new initiative may not only help build clean maritime industries, but also build support for more ambitious climate policies in shipping.

The United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France and others — 22 countries in all — signed the Clydebank Declaration for Green Shipping Corridors, a new framework for reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. The signatories commit to establishing "zero-emission maritime routes" for ships using clean marine fuels such as methanol or ammonia.

They plan to establish six of these green corridors by 2025 and scale up further by "supporting the establishment of more routes, longer routes and/or having more ships on the same routes," according to the declaration.

Each year, the sector emits over 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The figure rivals the emissions of Germany, the world’s sixth-largest emitter by country. Reducing shipping emissions is crucial to implement the 2015 Paris climate agreement and to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.

The Clydebank declaration charts a pathway for the green-energy transition in maritime shipping. The main idea here is to support the development of clean fuels and to mitigate the risks of "first movers" in renewable technologies.