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Shipping emissions – is your sustainability strategy prepared for what’s next?

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In September 2022, legislators passed Australia’s first climate law in more than a decade and toughened targets to make the country net zero by 2050, with an aim to reduce emissions by 43% by 2030. For the Australian Petroleum Industry, this means companies will have to take a harder look at emissions and in particular their scope 3 emissions, which currently account for almost 75% of the total. Within that figure, shipping makes up a crucial portion and represents an opportunity for carbon cuts that should not be missed.

Globally, the shipping industry has already started its decarbonization journey, with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) implementing in January 2023 stricter requirements on energy and operational efficiency of the world’s fleet. Furthermore, the EU is expected to implement shipping into its Emission Trading System (ETS) from January 2024, effectively charging a carbon tax on the shipping industry. The IMO has also advanced discussions for introduction of a global carbon tax for shipping, likely to be implemented later this decade.

To reach anywhere close to the 2030 targets for its scope 3 emissions, the Australian Petroleum Industry cannot wait for IMO to take charge when it comes to the decarbonization of shipping. The industry should begin preparations and take active steps to cut emissions from ocean freight. With a potential carbon tax looming, companies should start making the necessary changes – and sooner rather than later.


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