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Countries at COP26 launch plan for net-zero shipping routes

[protesters taking to the street to demand changes on climate crisis. Photo/courtesy]

A coalition of 19 countries including Britain and the United States on Wednesday agreed to create zero-emissions shipping trade routes between ports to speed up the decarbonisation of the global maritime industry, officials involved said.

Shipping, which transports about 90% of world trade, accounts for nearly 3% of the world’s CO2 emissions.

U.N. shipping agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has said it aims to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050. The goal is not aligned with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and the sector is under pressure to be more ambitious.

The signatory countries involved in the ‘Clydebank Declaration’, which was launched at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, agreed to support the establishment of at least six green corridors by 2025, which will require developing supplies of zero-emission fuels, the infrastructure required for decarbonisation and regulatory frameworks.

“It is our aspiration to see many more corridors in operation by 2030,” their mission statement said.

Britain’s maritime minister Robert Courts said countries alone would not be able to decarbonise shipping routes without the commitment of private and non-governmental sectors.

The U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the declaration was “a big step forward for green shipping corridors and collective action”.