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Latest Science

Pathways to Sustainable Shipping

The American Bureau of Shipping developed the second in a series of "Outlook" documents — the first was published in June 2019 — to reference available carbon-reduction strategies and inform the shipping industry as it enters the uncharted waters of the 2030/2050 emissions challenge. This document examines how the development of global trade will impact global emissions. Furthermore, it identifies the three main fuel pathways on the course to meeting the IMO’s emission reduction targets for 2050 and beyond: light gas fuels, heavy gas fuels and bio/synthetic fuels. It also examines the possible capacity demand and related emissions output trends on a global basis to envision the environments in which those targets may need to be achieved. This information is offered solely to help provide industry stakeholders with the information they need to make informed decisions. The nearest challenges will require them to make choices between new fuels, energy sources and emissions control systems. It is offered as a tool to help shipowners understand the complexity of the task ahead and to move forward effectively as they assess their options for a transition to low-carbon operations, and further to the zero-carbon future of shipping.  Click here to view document

A Comeback of Wind Power in Shipping: An Economic and Operational Review on the Wind-Assisted Ship Propulsion Technology Todd ChouVasileios KosmasMichele Acciaro, and, Katharina Renken  relook at the data to confirm and remind us what we know about Wind-assisted ship propulsion (WASP) technology as a sustainable model to decarbonisation in shipping. A study that the public and private sector will need to know to move forward.   Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1880;


Wind-assisted ship propulsion (WASP) technology seems to be a promising solution toward accelerating the shipping industry’s decarbonization efforts as it uses wind to replace part of the propulsive power generated from fossil fuels. This article discusses the status quo of the WASP technological growth within the maritime transport sector by means of a secondary data review analysis, presents the potential fuel-saving implications, and identifies key factors that shape the operational efficiency of the technology. The analysis reveals three key considerations. Firstly, despite the existing limited number of WASP installations, there is a promising trend of diffusion of the technology within the industry. Secondly, companies can achieve fuel savings, which vary depending on the technology installed. Thirdly, these bunker savings are influenced by environmental, on-board, and commercial factors, which presents both opportunities and challenges to decision makers.


Climate strategy in the balance who decides?.  Michael Prehn Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School, Kilevej 14A, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Journal of Marine Policy 131 (2021) 104621

Abstract: Climate change and impact mitigation is central to the shipping industry. Targets and standards that aim to reduce emissions and mitigate impact will apply either to all ships or to certain ship types or ship activities. The impact of this regulatory agenda on maritime activities is heavily dependent on international conventions and decisions taken at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Some scholars have pointed to the undue influence of firms on the IMO via ‘corporate capture’. Mainstream scholarship assumes that decisive influence comes from powerful states. This article deploys a polycentric approach to argue that governance outcomes are often a function of the particularities of the negotiating process as opposed to the characteristics and resources of the negotiating parties.

Climate governance, policy entrepreneurs and small states: explaining policy change at the International Maritime Organisation Jack Corbetta, Mélodie Ruwetb, Yi-Chong Xub and Patrick Weller School of Economic, Political and Social Sciences University of Southampton, UK; School of Government and International Relations, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia


The Marshall Islands (RMI) is one of the world’s smallest sovereign states, which should mean they are peripheral to global climate negotiations. Yet, they have recently played a crucial role in negotiating the Paris Agreement and emissions reductions at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The success at Paris is well documented. Here we explain how they also acted as successful policy entrepreneurs at the IMO. Specifically, we find that RMI’s success can be explained by three factors: vision of the entrepreneur; development of capacity within RMI and the region, and commitment of key actors to create and seize opportunities in available forums, to realise that vision; and strategies to mobilise broader international support. These findings have implications for the literatures on policy entrepreneurship in climate governance and studies that highlight the capacity of small states to influence international affairs.