Pledge for a green transition of maritime sector
CLIMATE change, marine debris, ecosystem restoration and marine biodiversity conservation are the most concerned interconnected ocean and environmental challenges due to the multifaceted nature of the problem being faced by the global community.
These are attributed through their manifestation and convergent evidence across all sectors of the maritime economy, with diverse dilemmas thus plaguing relations between the human and nature.
Growing anxieties are connecting climatic catastrophes with apocalyptic dots for the future of our planet Earth and of humankind.
It is a big challenge to global sustainable development agenda for which, risk perception has growing trends about these hazards which are likely to impact geographies, people and developing economies worldwide.
Pakistan is no exception. Although a narrative about less contribution of Pakistan towards GHG emissions exists, the gravity of the problem is multifaceted considering the cascading effects of climate change vis-a-vis high vulnerability risk index due to a wide variety of ecosystems from alpine to coastal and marine environments of the country.
The actual extent of GHG emissions from all types/sizes maritime vessels is also unknown which is critical for climate mitigation strategies.
On one hand, the gravity of the problem is severe for the overall global scenario. While on the other side, the desired level of environmental response is not adequately placed which is quite frustrating particularly in developing countries, though the developed nations have very much relevance as far as the healthy and sustainable maritime ecosystem is concerned.
The same findings are revealed in the United Nations report on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2020.
The United Nations’ SDGs Report 2020 also highlighted that about 39 million people were severe climate victim during 2018; while use of natural resources is unsustainable as the desired 3% target of energy efficiency has not achieved worldwide.
An anticipated rise of 3.2°C in global temperature by 2100 and annual global emissions reduction target is lagging behind about 7.6% for limiting the warming effect to 1.5°.
All maritime sectoral economies have complex interdependence in the context of adaptation, resilience, mitigation and low carbon development to cope with the increasing effects of a changing climate.
Anthropogenic flux of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is a significant essential climate variable for maritime transportation and among the key driving forces which can be tackled through efficient operations of sea-going vessels for the purpose of fuel energy efficiency, to be achieved through technological innovation.
The building blocks for the climate mitigation response depend primarily on energy efficiency through technological innovation and switching on the alternate renewable options.
In the context, the theme of World Maritime Day (WMD) 2022 titled ‘New technologies for greener shipping’ has revitalized our commitment for collective efforts towards solution strategy and course of action particularly for climate change mitigation response by pledging for a green transition of maritime sector into a sustainable future.
It focuses on the importance of a sustainable maritime sector and the need to build back better and greener in a post pandemic world.
It is pertinent that the theme provides an opportunity to promote inclusive innovation, research and development, and technology cooperation, and to showcase solutions for decarbonization and more environmentally-sound shipping.
On the occasion of WMD 2022, specialized advocacy campaign regarding the initiatives being trialed and piloted by the IMO-established Maritime Technology Cooperation Centres (MTCC) and the Green Voyage 2050 decarbonization project and Blue Solutions Project would help in gearing up the progress on the SDGs targets under UN agenda 2030; particularly for SDG-13 (Climate Action), SDG-14 (sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources), SDG-9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and SDG-17 (partnerships for implementation).
In the overall context above, it is very much encouraging that IMO’s MTCCs have introduced various technological solutions which are critically important for reduction of GHG emissions through efficient operations of the maritime vessels.
MTCC Africa’s initiative regarding provision of tablets for monitoring the data on fuel and ship operation would lead to more efficient and greener ship operations through effective and timely decision making.
Here, it is pertinent that such data solutions are missing link in the case of Pakistan for which benefit may be taken from IMO’s MTCC Network that supports the demonstration and piloting of technological solutions in support of the implementation of the initial IMO GHG reduction strategy.
MTCC Pacific is funding the installation of a propulsion improvement device known as Propeller Boss Cap Fins (PBCF) on a Fijian government ship.
PBCF can enhance propeller efficiency, thus resulting in reduced fuel consumption and associated GHG emissions.
Besides, MTCC Pacific has also supplied fisherwomen in Nakalawaca village, Fiji, with a fibreglass boat fitted with a solar-powered outboard electric engine – the first such boat in the Pacific.
Moreover, MTCC Pacific supported the trial of marine solar power systems on two ships to power electricity needs, especially when in port.
This resulted in overall GHQ reduction of more than 50%. Whereas MTCC Asia is using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse data on ship trim and optimization – leading to more efficient and greener ship operation after analysis of figures.
Once again, it is suggested that Pakistan needs to take full benefit from these interventions.
IMO’s GloFouling project is promoting the development of new technologies to prevent and/or manage marine biofouling, with the aim of increasing energy efficiency and to protect biodiversity by preventing the spread of invasive aquatic species.
Examples include in-water cleaning systems, new anti-fouling components and the use of robotics for monitoring and inspecting surfaces.
The TEST Biofouling Project of IMO will support testing novel technologies and new sustainable methods for biofouling management through demonstration projects.
These demonstrations will showcase the environmental and energy efficiency benefits that can be achieved.
Demonstration of technologies will be conducted in selected ports and shipyards around the world, with regional exchanges on technological solutions and best practices.
Pakistan needs to make effort for becoming active part of this project by inviting the demonstration at Karachi Port Trust (KPT) or Port Qasim Karachi.
It will help in promoting the technology for all category sea-going vessels. Being a responsible nation, Pakistan has received big applauds from global community for arranging great celebrations of international events in the past, especially on the occasions of World Environment Day, World Oceans Day and World Maritime Day every year.
Within limited resources, Pakistan has always tried to actively participate and invest in nature-based solutions which ultimately pay back by raising the stature of the country along with a very good international image.
On the occasion of WMD 2022, it is hoped that Pakistan would revitalize its pledge through active participation in the technological solutions and other related projects of IMO in order to meet the country’s targets for the reduction of GHG emissions as stated in statement for Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
Further, it will help in restoration of marine ecosystem and mitigating the issue of marine debris. In a nutshell, it is critically needed for a green transition of maritime sector.
—The writer is associated with the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA); views expressed are his own.