Skip to content
Press Release

Denmark joins list of governments promoting $5billion ‘moon-shot’ proposal to catalyse the decarbonising of international shipping

15 March 2021

15 March 2021 – Copenhagen and London: Denmark has joined a growing list of major shipping nations backing a ‘moon-shot’ programme aimed at driving the complete decarbonisation of maritime transport.

Submitted to the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on the 10th March 2021, the proposed creation of a $5 billion USD International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB) was co-sponsored by major shipping nations Georgia, Greece, Japan, Liberia, Malta, Nigeria, Palau, Singapore, and Switzerland. Now joined as a co-sponsor by Denmark, this means that nations controlling some 42% of world shipping have now given it public support, with many other nations, including the Republic of Korea and the United Kingdom, expected to support the proposal at a critical meeting of the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee in June

Demark is also one of three major EU maritime nation to co-sponsor this proposal which, together with Greece and Malta, collectedly control the majority of EU shipping.

Denmark’s backing of the ‘moon-shot’ programme comes amid growing confidence that the fund is one of the central elements in the transition of shipping and represents the most realistic pathway to catalyse the development on the technologies needed to decarbonise the sector, being a mature regulatory proposal that can be adopted by the UN IMO more or less immediately. All that is required is the political will of other governments to meet the “urgency and ambition: demanded by the United Nations Secretary-General.

Jacob Meldgaard, Chairman, Danish Shipping, says: 

“We very much welcome that Denmark co-sponsors this proposal. Denmark plays an important role in IMO and with the Danish shipping industry taking the lead in striving towards zero CO2 emissions by 2050, our government’s support is essential for the transition which lies ahead of our industry.”

Currently, international shipping transports more than 80 per cent of global trade and emits 2 percent of global emissions.

Denmark is widely acknowledged to be one of the more ambitious countries in the world for its commitments to the reduction of CO2 emissions. In 2020 it major political parties agreed to the first part of a radical climate action plan to reduce Denmark’s CO2 emissions by 70% in 2030 and 100% by 2050. Danish Shipping has also set the ambitious goal of being CO2-neutral by 2050. Responsibility for reducing international shipping emissions, however, including Danish ships, rests with the UN IMO.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping added:

“The level of support received for this well thought through and detailed proposal is encouraging. We are going to need this moon-shot style level of investment if we are to develop the technologies in time to meet the challenge of decarbonisation set out by UN Secretary General Guterres. We hope that he might even be in a position to announce this formally at COP26 later this year.”

Representatives of world shipping, who have put forward the decarbonisation programme to the UN, hope this latest development will act as a signal to other governments to the join the programme and ‘get on the right side of history’.