AP Møller-Maersk has thrown its considerable weight behind the idea of a carbon tax for shipping, to bridge the gap between existing fossil fuels and environmentally friendly alternatives
Maersk chief executive Søren Skou proposed a carbon tax on fuel of at least US$450/tonne of fuel at current prices.
“Fossil fuels cannot keep being cheaper than green fuels. Action is required now. It is vital to consider all greenhouses gases, not just CO2, on a full lifecycle analysis, otherwise we will not be able to truly decarbonise shipping by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. Governments and regulators play a key role in securing production and availability of zero-carbon fuels for shipping. Maersk proposes a market-based measure of at least US$450/tonne of fuel in the medium term at the current oil price.”
The company is building a methanol-powered feeder ship by 2023 and is targeting reductions of up to 60% relative CO₂ emissions from shipping by 2030, with net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and believes introducing market-based measures from 2025 will help to accelerate the scale of the fuel transition.
Mr Skou’s comments come shortly before IMO is set to approve carbon-reduction targets at the MEPC 76 Committee meeting that begins on 10 June.
This week, the chief executive of fellow shipping giant MSC, Soren Toft, conceded “Some form of global market-based measure, incorporating carbon pricing, could help the industry to decarbonise by reducing the price gap between fossil fuels and zero-carbon fuels as they become available.”
While a carbon tax is inevitable, the price of the levy remains the subject of debate between shipping bodies, regulators and environmental organisations. Commodity giant Trafigura – one of the largest ship charters in the world – mooted a price between US$250 and US$300 per tonne of CO2 equivalent.
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