In conversation at COP26

In conversation at COP26

Nov. 26 2021 - 4 min


The first event that BV M&O attended was ShipZero26, organized by the Zero Emissions Ship Technology Association (ZESTAs). It set the tone for our time at COP26, with participants sharing their will to move faster and take concerted climate action now. The event brought in-depth brainstorming sessions on how to reach true zero GHG emissions within the decade. Opening the event, speaker Peter Thomson, UN ambassador for Fiji, spoke of the link between healthy oceans and the overall health of the planet, and highlighted green shipping as a key remedy.

The first day of this three-day event was centered around zero emission ships and associated technology. Our delegates noted a particular excitement around developments toward green hydrogen. Here, participants shared interesting pilot projects and discussed how to overcome challenges of scaling up existing technology, manage necessary infrastructure, adapt vessels, train crews and secure financing. 

A recurring theme throughout ShipZero26 was the need for sturdy and globally consistent regulation to support the actions of companies. While zero-emissions technology has advanced to the point of market readiness, national government support is needed to secure the investment necessary to scale up and accelerate their use. By the end of the event, a list of recommended government actions had been put forward, including:

  • Adopting a target for true zero by 2040
  • Mandating a transition to true zero emission vessels with command-and-control regulations to reach Paris Agreement temperature goals in the agreed timeframe
  • Supporting proposals for a global carbon levy at the IMO to accelerate decarbonization
  • Mandating transparent emissions monitoring, reporting, and verification via the IMO fuel oil DCS.

Shaping the Future of Shipping

Matthieu de Tugny shared the perspective of a leading classification society at the International Chamber of Shipping’s “Shaping the Future of Shipping” event. This panel, “Shaping the Financing Outlook Required to Catalyze Shipping’s Future”, discussed ways to build a sustainable business model for a carbon-free shipping future.

Studies have estimated that between $1.5-2.5 trillion USD is needed to reach net-zero by 2050, representing up to an $80 billion USD annual investment for the next 30 years. The sheer scale of financing necessitates government action through carbon taxes, regulation and incentives for green investment. Matthieu de Tugny highlighted the importance of trust, transparency and visibility in ensuring state intervention and public support:

  • Trust in the whole supply chain of new technologies is key to their public perception as viable options, and it is instrumental to encourage large-scale investment.
  • Transparency for ship owners is needed to build this trust with investors. This is an area in which classification societies can be of assistance by lending external expert verification to new technology.
  • Visibility on future regulations and the costs of Market Based Measures such as carbon pricing is needed to catalyze investments in zero-emission technology.