Biden climate summit: Shipping seeks support for carbon pricing

Written by Nick Blenkey
black carbon emissions


Ahead of the Leaders’ Summit on Climate convened by President Biden, shipping bodies are pushing to make mandatory market-based measures (MBMs) part of the solution to shipping decarbonization.

In a joint submission to the United Nations, BIMCO, CLIA, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the World Shipping Council are asking member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to bring forward discussions on carbon pricing so that they can be considered in tandem with proposals to create a $5 billion R&D fund.

The Leader’s Summit hosted by the United States, which starts tomorrow, is seen as a vital precursor to COP26 and the next meeting of IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), the shipping bodies want leaders to put their political weight behind the industry’s proposals on MBMs

They say that MBMs put a price on CO2 emissions to provide an economic incentive for a sector to reduce its emissions by narrowing the price gap between fossil fuels and zero-carbon fuels. Shipping leaders believe that now is the time for the IMO member states to consider the role of MBMs so that measures can be developed and implemented to facilitate the adoption of zero-carbon technologies and commercially viable zero-carbon ships.

Viable alternatives to fossil fuels do not yet exist for large trans-oceanic ships. Shipping leaders say development of alternative technologies would be enabled by a massive acceleration of IMO coordinated R&D – to be financed by the industry – so that ocean-going ships will be able to switch to new fuels.


Governments controlling a major share of the world merchant fleet have already put forward a proposal, supported by industry to create a $5 billion fund to provide the research and development needed to create the technologies to decarbonize the sector. Industry leaders have also reiterated their call for nations to support this R&D proposal at the IMO.

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