The High Seas Project: Assessing the technical and operational scope for rapid carbon emission reduction from global shipping

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Earth Atmospheric and Env Sciences

Abstract

Though the shipping industry is considering the formation of a discrete emissions trading scheme for the industry as a whole, some in the industry foresee shipping emissions increasing out to 2050 and beyond (albeit at a slower rate than under business as usual). However given the deep and very rapid cuts required in globalemissions to avoid dangerous climate change, this is no longer a realistic option. Instead, it will be necessary for shipping, along with aviation and all other sectors of the global economy, to stabilise emissions in the near-term and then begin the process of making substantial reductions. This project aims to explore potential opportunities within the shipping industry for making such large, step-change reductions in emissions.The first step in reducing emissions is to be able to accurately measure them. However, there is currently considerable uncertainty with regard to the level of shipping emissions and this project will begin by developing a methodology that aims to substantially reduce this level of uncertainty. The project then moves on to the issue of apportionment, exploring existing methodologies and developing newones to determine which nations are responsible for what proportion of historic and current shipping emissions. The approaches developed will be used to re-calculate the UK's shipping emissions over the last decade. The UK Government's carbon budget out to 2050 includes shipping emissions and, thus, even if a discrete trading scheme for shipping is established, it will still be necessary to determine the proportion of future global shipping emissions for which the UK is responsible. This will be possible using the apportionment methodologies developed.Following work on the measurement and apportionment of emissions, the project will explore the technical and operational measures available for reducing global shipping emissions by an amount sufficient for the UK to meet its overall climate change objectives. This will involve investigating novel combinations of both existing technologies (e.g. advanced propeller coatings) and operational changes (e.g. reduced queuing at ports) and the potential for emerging technologies (e.g. kite-assisted sailing).The theoretical emissions reduction potential of these various measures (technical and operational) will then be calculated, and discussed with shipping stakeholders to obtain feedback on whether the reduction potential is plausible. Stakeholder views will also be sought on the barriers that exist within the shipping system to realising this theoretical potential and the types of interventions that can overcome such barriers and accelerate both the take-up of low-carbon options and the innovation process. To gain further insights into the workings of the shipping system, case studies will be made of various products and commodities, tracking their journey through the system from producer to consumer. The project will conclude by using the various research findings to develop a series of socio-technical scenarios for reducing UK shipping emissions in line with the UK's carbon budget. Again, feedback from shipping stakeholders on these scenarios will be sought.The project will adopt an explicitly interdisciplinary approach drawing on and integrating insights from a range of scientific and social science disciplines and the project team includes individuals with substantial expertise in various aspects of international transport, renewable technology, emission pathways and energy systems. The team also has experience of apportionment methodology, stakeholder engagement and scenario development in relation to the aviation industry and will transfer this experience to the investigation of the shipping system. It is envisaged that this research will be of significant benefit to policy makers, the shipping industry and academics working in the field.

Planned Impact

The High Seas project has been designed to inform the policy discussion over the climate change impact of shipping, issues under discussion including the implementation of a global trading scheme for shipping, the real extent of emissions from UK shipping, and the relationship between a global scheme and a national cumulative greenhouse gas budget. WP1 of the project will unpack issues of emission accounting and apportionment at the UK level, whilst WP2 will explore how emissions may be reduced. Finally, the integrated scenarios will synthesise the elements of work to explore alternative low carbon futures. The outputs of the High Seas project will be communicated directly to UK policy makers in two ways. Firstly, members of the researcher team have already given evidence to the Environmental Audit committee, UK Committee on Climate Change and the Scottish Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee on shipping issues, and will have the opportunity to do so again during the course of the project; funding for this is provided directly by select committees. UK policy makers will also be interviewed face to face as part of WP 2, as will EU policy makers, particularly those responsible for the EU ETS with whom we will liaise directly concerning IMO mitigation proposals to contribute to new discussions on the inclusion of shipping within the EU ETS. Funding for policy liaison is covered within the 4k interview budget. Our intention is for the High Seas project to build on an existing Tyndall shipping project, and we have allocated 10k for two stakeholder workshops (tasks 1.4 and IA3). We will bring together consumers e.g. importers and exporters, and producers e.g. port operators and shipping companies to participate in the workshops. Participative working promotes stakeholder ownership, enhances knowledge exchange, and provides a forum for thinking creatively about future innovative solutions to specific shipping policy challenges. A number of future workshop participants have already been engaged with Tyndall Manchester research on intentional bunker shipping. To add further value to this participatory stakeholder engagement, the research team will continue to present findings at industry-led conferences, in particular where links are already established (E.g. Waterfront shipping emission conferences). Funding for this is provided through invited speaker fees and from the 1.5k industry workshop budget. The research team's retail partners Tesco are members of a business-CEO forum, to which we will present the research outputs; this will be funded by the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI). A project Steering Group, with invited membership from the shipping industry and regional policy makers will ensure that the research remains business and policy relevant. 2.1k has been allocated for this activity. Any of the innovative technology options assessed in WP2 which prove promising will be taken forward, working with the NWDA and technology providers in the region. Whilst publication of research outputs in peer reviewed journals is an essential part of dissemination to an academic community, such journals are often not accessed by the policy and industry communities. In recognition of this, the work plan identifies a number of policy relevant reports focusing on emission apportionment and shipping futures. These will be subject to internal peer review, and disseminated to those who have participated in the research, and published on the Tyndall Centre website to be accessed by the non-academic community both in the UK and overseas. Tyndall Manchester has become well known regionally and nationally for its communication activities and knowledge exchange, through presentations to the public and non-academic communities in addition to media work. The release of important reports will be accompanied by a press release and members of the project team will respond to any press queries.
 
Description Quantifying the challenge for shipping posed by climate change shows that avoiding a 2°C global temperature rise requires a radical rethink of the shipping system. Emissions from international shipping are expected to grow indefinitely in coming decades and be over 200%-300% higher by 2050. In contrast, if global shipping is to make its "fair and proportionate" contribution to avoiding 2°C, emissions need to be cut within the next 10 years and continue declining to at least 80% of their 1990 baseline by 2050.

Intensity improvements need to outstrip growth
Improving the CO2 intensity of shipping will not be sufficient for the industry to make its "fair and proportionate" contribution to avoiding 2°C; trade routes, levels of demand, storage and timing, all have roles to play when seeking to avoid 2°C.

Couple sulphur & CO2 targets
Measures implemented by the industry to tackle other pollutants, such as sulphur emissions, need to be integrated with the climate change agenda.

Absence of data transparency is a barrier to change
Making data public and transparent is highly desirable to support change. Improved fuel consumption accounting can support a range of stakeholders in their efforts to mitigate emissions.

AIS for monitoring emissions
With Advanced Information system (AIS) receivers offering real-time, global coverage of international shipping, High Seas research demonstrates that using a new AIS method can improve the accuracy compared with more conventional alternatives.

Apportionment not necessary
Apportionment is not a prerequisite to enable sub-global policy. The urgency with which shipping needs to begin down a 2°C-type emission pathway does not allow for any further delay. Beginning a process of data gathering to improve the transparency of fuel consumption statistics is a first step towards improving the data issue taken by the EU, but other policy avenues can be pursued in parallel, such as port state intervention.

Tailor technologies to markets
Of the many possible low-carbon technologies available, their applicability and impact on delivering rapid and urgent decarbonisation will depend on ship type and the service provided. Each ship type has to be considered separately. Wind power can work as part of a hybrid propulsion system, with the potential to provide significant fuel savings, depending on ship type and size. Dry and wet bulk carriers with free deck space are natural candidates for harnessing the wind's energy, and could feasibly be re-fitted with wind-assist technologies in the short-to medium-term.

Changing energy systems to significantly impact shipping activity
The climate change agenda beyond the shipping sector will influence trade. The demand for transporting fossil fuels will shift significantly if nations with high levels of fossil fuel combustion are to achieve strict CO2 targets.

There are numerous feasible pathways to decarbonisation.
Opportunities for decarbonising shipping are manifold and stretch across technology, operations and demand. Across all decarbonisation pathways articulated, slow-steaming is part of the mix. By harnessing the opportunities available both in the short-term and across technologies, operations and demand for trade, the shipping sector has the potential to be a leading sector in the decarbonisation challenge.
Exploitation Route This research has strong policy implications for the shipping industry in terms of it needing to significantly ramp up the mitigation effort. It also feeds into debate on monitoring and verification at an EU scale, as well as mitigation policy in general, and as discussed by the International Maritime Organisation.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Transport

URL http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/media/eps/schoolofmechanicalaerospaceandcivilengineering/research/centres/tyndall/reports/High_Seas_High_Stakes_Final_Report.pdf
 
Description This research has contributed to a wider debate on setting CO2 targets for shipping internationally, the debate around inclusion of international aviation and shipping into the Paris Agreement, as well as general mitigation policy interventions aimed at the shipping sector. Specifically, the matter was discussed at the International Maritime Organisation, and is now on their agenda.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Energy,Environment,Transport
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Description Acknoweldge by UK Committee on Climate Change for contribution to their report on UK shipping emissions
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Citation in other policy documents
Impact Debate and discussion regarding the inclusion of shipping emissions within the UK's Climate Change Act is ongoing, and our work informed this debate, and continues to do so. Target Audience: Government Department
 
Description Oral evidence by Dr. Paul Gilbert to the Maritime Strategy Inquiry, 2013
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Submission to energy and climate change committee inquiry into consumption based emissions reporting
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Written submission by Dr. Paul Gilbert and Dr. Conor Walsh to the European Commission Consultation on including maritime transport emissions in the EU's greenhouse gas reduction commitment
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
 
Description Written submission to the Maritime Strategy Inquiry, 2013
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Gave evidence to a government review
Impact The evidence will help to inform improvements to the regulatory environment and lead to improved environmental sustainability in the future.
 
Description AcCO2unting on the high seas
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2011 
End 10/2011
 
Title Excel based tool to generate future emission scenarios for UK Shipping 
Description Excel based tool to generate future emission scenarios for UK Shipping 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact N/A 
 
Title Excel based tool to quantify the lifecycle CO2 emissions associated with shipping 
Description Excel based tool to quantify the lifecycle CO2 emissions associated with shipping 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact N/A 
 
Title Tool to quantify shipping emissions from AIS satellite data 
Description It combines information from a global fleet database with various AIS data recordings to reconstruct ship voyages and infer fuel consumption and in turn carbon dioxide emissions. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact N/A 
 
Description Co-authored special mini-focus issue of Carbon Management 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Worked with colleagues in the EPSRC funded Low Carbon Shipping project, particularly Tristan Smith, to edit a special journal issue around low carbon shipping
Start Year 2011
 
Description Shipping in a changing climate - new funded proposal to the EPSRC 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Collaboration with colleagues in the Low Carbon Shipping project as well as colleagues at the University of Southampton in order to develop a proposal to continue with this research field through EPSRC and industry funding. Recently awarded the grant.
Start Year 2012
 
Title Tool to assess the co2 mitigation potential for wind-powered shipping 
Description The software includes computational modules simulating wind-power technologies (Flettner rotor and towing kite, others could be added), combining them with shipping routes and weather data, both read from respective input files to calculate thrust/propulsive power contribution. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2012 
Impact N/A 
 
Description 'What about plan B?'- podcast by Dr. Paul Gilbert recorded at Tyndall Centre conference in Southampton 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Podcast recorded at Tyndall Centre conference in Southampton on 1st September 2010. This was also given as a plenary talk at the conference.

N/A
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Executing a Scharnow turn: reconciling shipping emissions with international commitments on climate change 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact Invited seminar by Dr. Alice Bows-Larkin to CICERO in Oslo Norway on shipping emissions.

Raised the profile the research team at Tyndall Manchester amongst academic peers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description Expert for panel on transport and environment/clean shipping coalition seminar - regulatory options for controling shipping emissions in the EU 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact Lecturer Paul Gilbert chosen to sit on an expert panel in Brussels.

Led to invitation for members of the research team to give evidence at the Maritime Strategy Enquiry in 2013
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010