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IPCC report: difficulties ahead in decarbonising shipping and aviation


The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s landmark report published this week painted a bleak picture for the future of humanity and the planet. 

There was, however, some cause for optimism. We can halt the ever-warming climate, or at least limit it to below two degrees, but we’ll all have to play our part. 

The report was wide in scope, but it did hone in on some specific areas that are obviously apparent to exporting businesses – those areas being global shipping and aviation. 

And it’s not just how we can look to neutralise the carbon output associated with a consumer-led truly global planet. It’s also to do with the effect that increasingly worsening weather will have on supply chains. 

Supply chains are already being impacted by extreme weather – weather that is becoming more frequent due to the warming planet. 

Marine risk consultant, captain Andrew Kinsey noted to AGCS that: ”Weather is no longer seasonal. Year-round we see tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and storms affecting shipping and inland marine, as well as associated infrastructure. Almost every mode of transport is affected, with a knock-on effect for supply chains.”

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Things look a little more positive on the freight front. Shipping and HGV industries have already made moves to cut emissions whilst legislation likely to be implemented in 2023 will require older ships having to hold permits to access EU ports. There’s also movement in the UK to test e-highways where HGVs will be powered by overhead cables. 

The biggest challenge though will remain the aviation industry, both for passenger travel but also freight. Electric battery technology just is not yet available to power heavy freight loaders over huge distances.

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