A two-day conference to promote green shipping in Africa is underway in Accra.
Green shipping is the transportation of people or goods through ships, using minimum resources and energy as possible, to protect the environment from the pollutants generated by the ships.
It is also to promote cleaner practices to enforce emission control, efficient port management, and equipment management.
Organised by the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA) in partnership with the International Maritime Organisation and the Danish Maritime Authority, the conference is on the theme “Unlocking Opportunities for Green Shipping in Africa.”
Opening the event yesterday, the Minister of Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said climate change had become one of the biggest challenges facing humanity saying that its impact was occurring all over the world.
To avoid the impending worst situation, he said there was the need for an action to limit the rise in global temperature to around 1.5 degree Celsius.
Presently, he stated, that there was the urgency to rapidly transform energy systems to be more secure, reliable, and resilient, by accelerating clean and just transitions to renewable energy.
The shipping sector alone, which emits 2-3 per cent of the annual global greenhouse gas (GHG) with most ships in operation currently being powered by fossil fuels, Mr Asiamah said, “there is an urgent need to apply measures to facilitate shipping transitions and reduce emissions, particularly regulatory interventions to encourage the production of alternative low- and zero- carbon fuels for shipping and the related necessary expansion of renewable energy production as well as support first movers.”
He said the global shift towards a greener economy was necessary to mitigate the risks of climate change and other environmentally threatening conditions but bemoaned the lack of green transportation infrastructure which was impeding the efforts of developing countries.
Mr Asiamah appealed to the IMO to prioritise financial supports to developing and island countries to be able to build the necessary green infrastructure and contribute to the fight against climate change.
Secretary-General of the IMO, Kitack Lim, said as the whole world unites to fight climate change, the biggest challenge facing shipping was reducing its GHG emissions.
He said the IMO would show global leadership towards efforts to decarbonise shipping by leading way and providing a global framework for the maritime industry to strive for green shipping with the involvement of all member states.
“At IMO, we are committed to examining and addressing the impact of the measures we adopt to achieve this end. With this in mind, we are also committed to supporting Member States to unlock the potential that green shipping presents,” he added.
Mr Lim said IMO Member States were currently engaged in the process of revising the Initial IMO Strategy on Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships, which was adopted in 2018.
The Director-General of GMA, Thomas Kofi Alonsi, said Africa had the potential to be a major ship energy source as the continent had vast and untapped renewable resources that position it to benefit from the Green Transition and Maritime Decarbonisation.
This, he said, underscored the recognition of the Green Transition Agenda by African countries resulting in the ratification of the Paris Agreement to build climate resilient and low-carbon economies.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS