Efforts to green the European shipping industry have received a boost, with two major banks pledging to fund €300 million worth of clean tech investments in ships over the next three years.
The Dutch bank ING and the European Investment Bank (EIB) will each contributed €150 million to retrofit existing vessels so that they cause less emissions and are more fuel efficient, and to ensure that new ships are more climate friendly.
Such steps are important to reach the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, given that maritime transport is responsible for around 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and carbon emissions from shipping and aviation are growing at a combined rate of 3-5% annually.
“I think it’s no secret that the shipping sector is a major contributor to CO2 emissions. Climate action is one of the EIB’s top priorities, and this type of financing should be seen as an incentive for ship owners to consider doing things differently.” said EIB President Werner Hoyer.
The Paris Agreement’s aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Action in all areas of the economy is crucial to reach this goal.
The investment money will be used for a range of projects with a green innovation element, including both the construction of new vessels or retrofitting of existing vessels. The measures will apply to inland and seagoing shipping.
Isabel Fernandez, Head of Wholesale Banking at ING Bank, said: “Sustainability is an important strategic priority for ING and we are very proud to partner with the EIB to encourage our shipping clients to think about more green and sustainable financing options.”
The move is part of a global movement to de-carbonise shipping. Last year, leading shipowners and operators, classification societies, engine and technology builders and suppliers, big data providers, and oil companies signed up to a new Global Industry Alliance (GIA) to support transitioning shipping and its related industries towards a low carbon future.
Thirteen companies have signed up to launch the GIA, under the auspices of the GloMEEP Project, a Global Environment Facility (GEF)-United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-International Maritime Organisation (IMO) project aimed at supporting developing countries in the implementation of energy efficiency measures for shipping.