International shipping is one of the main enablers of globalisation, and has contributed to a constant increase in living conditions around the world through trade facilitation and economic development. Notwithstanding the comparatively low greenhouse gas emission per unit of a tonne of seaborne freight, international shipping is responsible for a significant share of global emissions. The forecast increase in shipping-related emissions has resulted in the landmark commitment taken in April 2018 by the International Maritime Organization to limit the contribution of international shipping to global warming in the future. This will require further policy action and is likely to produce changes in the way the sector operates and vessels are powered. This chapter provides a review of the main issues associated with decarbonising the shipping sector. It highlights the complexity of devising effective climate change policies for this sector, and emphasises the need for a holistic approach to maritime decarbonisation.
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