NGO: it is time to invest shipping companies’ billions in climate action

Two NGOs have asked the top ten container giants to invest a minimum of $95 billion of this year’s mega-profits in launching their own upgrade to zero-emissions propulsion.

The request was announced in a joint statement released by Pacific Environment and Seas at Risk on July 8, ahead of Amazon Prime Day on July 12 and 13.

Amazon Prime Day once again promises to boost online retail sales, and with it the pollution associated with transporting millions of tons of goods on fossil-fueled mega-ships across the world’s oceans, say NGOs.

With billions of dollars in profits made on “cheap fossil fuel ships”global container shipping companies must take responsibility for their environmental impacts and urgently step up investment in their zero emission transitionunderlined the two NGOs.

Container ships carry around 90% of all goods traded globally, with business booming since the COVID-19 crisis. Shipping companies are charging higher rates as consumers demand more goods shipped due to the pandemic. Drewry, a shipping consultancy, estimates freight companies made a record $190 billion last year – more than Facebook, Google, Amazon and Netflix combined – and are set to surpass it with profits of up to $200 billion. dollars in 2022.

At the same time, the industry is decades behind in achieving its own climate target (a 50% reduction in emissions by 2050) and far from phasing out emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. , according to think tank Nordic West.

Ocean-going vessels run exclusively on untaxed fossil fuel, heavy fuel oil, emitting around 1 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. This is equivalent to the pollution of large economies, such as Japan or Germany, and is expected to continue to increase in the coming years due to growing trade volumes.

Prime Day is driving this increased flow of consumer goods, largely produced in low-wage countries and shipped on polluting mega-ships to wealthier hyper-consumer countries. An estimated 255 million items were sold during Prime Day 2021, compared to 240 million in 2020 and 175 million in 2019. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is clear, however, that Deep and immediate emission reductions are the only way to prevent climate catastrophe.

Many technologies exist today to immediately reduce ship emissions, and zero-emission alternative fuels are emerging. The Global Maritime Forum estimates that it would take an average of $70 billion to $95 billion in annual investment in zero-emission fuels and propulsion over 20 years for shipping to meet the United Nations Accord’s 2050 decarbonization trajectory. Paris.

With more than double that amount already in their pockets for 2022, container companies must pay up and launch their zero-emissions transition today or face an unlivable future, Pacific Environment and Seas at Risk said.

“We demand that the top 10 container giants invest at least $95 billion of this year’s mega-profits to launch their own upgrade to zero-emissions propulsion,” he added. asked the NGOs.

“While cleaning up the supply chain is essential to improving our chances of securing a viable future, it alone cannot achieve this goal. A much broader and deeper change is needed in our global economic model, which is currently at odds with future climate, environmental and social stability. Amazon and other retail giants must urgently take responsibility for their impacts and start using their multi-billion profits to pay for the damages that ‘they cause to the climate and the wider environment.

“This Amazon Prime Days season, consumers know that Amazon and its peers are transporting goods on toxic ships that threaten the ocean and human life on Earth. “ Dawn’yall HeydariPacific Environment, commented.

“It is high time that Amazon and its major shipping carriers – including Evergreen, Maersk and Yang Ming – meet these requirements and provide shoppers with comprehensive zero-emissions shipping options that include transoceanic shipping.”

“Some of the world’s richest corporations are making even more money, without paying a penny for the environmental, health and social damage they cause. Considering how many billions they have already quietly earned on the back of a global pandemic, the time is over for greedy boys to make excuses or play dumb. With $95 billion a year, gigantic container lines can kick-start their much-needed zero-emissions transition and clean up the mess they’ve created. Saving the planet should be worth all your profits,” Lucy GiliamSeas at Risk, said.