Denmark’s AP Moller Maersk, the world’s biggest marine shipping company, has set a 2050 deadline to make all its operations carbon-neutral.
The shipping industry accounts for 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, enough to make it the world’s sixth-biggest carbon polluter if it were a country, Quartz reports, citing United Nations data. Maersk is responsible for 20% of that activity.
But the company says it has already cut its carbon footprint 46% since 2007, investing US$1 billion in cleaner technology and hiring 50 engineers to work on those solutions. “The only possible way to achieve the so-much-needed decarbonization in our industry is by fully transforming to new carbon neutral fuels and supply chains,” said Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer Søren Toft.
“The biggest part of the process will be to switch to carbon neutral ships by 2030, a move that depends on the industry’s ability to find cleaner ways to power their massive container ships,” Quartz states. The 2050 deadline matches up with the most recent International Maritime Organization carbon plan, which calls for its 173 member countries to cut their emissions 50% from 2008 levels by 2050 but has been beset by reports of slow, equivocal progress.
“The bunker fuel typically used for international shipping causes problems beyond greenhouse gas emissions,” Quartz adds. “That type of fuel can have sulphur content that’s 3,500 times higher than gas used in diesel cars. Sulphur is a smog producer and precursor to ozone which has been linked to several health problems, including asthma, heart disease, and pregnancy complications.”