Though the global shift toward green transportation in the maritime sector continues to be of utmost importance to mitigate risks of climate change, developing countries including Ghana remain challenged due to lack of finance, Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has said.
The minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of a two-day Green Shipping Conference in Accra, and said though the concept of green shipping would have contributed to a sustainable future for many developing countries, the financial, technological innovation and research needed are enormous and expensive.
“The green energy sources required for the industry to meet its climate goals will be a challenge for developing countries to enable them to implement measures to be ready for the global introduction and commercial use of alternative fuel,” Mr. Asiamah reiterated.
Green transition has been gaining traction in Africa, as several countries on the continent have recognised the potential of a green economy and with all the 54 states signing onto the Paris Agreement.
But Mr. Asiamah noted that the current technical and operational measures that African countries acquire from developed countries will alone not be sufficient to satisfactorily reduce greenhouse gas emissions in global shipping, in view of growth projections in world trade.
Undeniably, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide will need to fall by 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2030, reaching at least net zero by 2050.
The global shipping sector emits two-three percent of the annual global greenhouse gas, and most ships in operation today are powered by fossil fuels.
However, the IPCC intimates that by 2050 shipping emissions will increase by between 90-130 percent from 2008 levels.
This, Mr. Asiamah said, requires a concerted effort by shipping lines to achieve the goal of decarbonisation and energy transitions.
Director-General of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), Thomas Alonsi, stressed that as the maritime industry forges ahead in its quest to attain a zero-carbon society, the need for cleaner fuels and its associated technologies will also increase significantly and urgently.
He is however hopeful that the continent has the potential to be a major ship energy player, given the vast and untapped renewable resources – which he adds positions it to benefit from green transition and maritime decarbonisation.
Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kitack Lim, noted that the continent is well-positioned to champion and achieve net zero carbon emissions in the maritime sector, and to ensure that the vision of global green shipping is largely attained.
Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Tom Norring, said the Port of Tema – which is one of the best in the sub-region, has received several technical supports from Denmark to position itself as a green shipping haven.
About the conference
The maiden Green Shipping Conference was hosted by the GMA in partnership with the IMO and the Danish Maritime Authority under the theme Unlocking opportunities for green shipping in Africa, and aimed at promoting discussions toward cleaner fuels for shipping in Africa.
The event was attended by maritime experts from across Africa and the world.