Copenhagen: World's biggest container shipper AP Moller Maersk has announced that it would cut its CO2 emissions to zero by 2050 without using offsets, heralding the prospect of carbon neutral international trade.
Maersk is in the group of the top 100 highest emitting companies, so this is a significant announcement.
The shipper company said they will need to make zero CO2 fuel and propulsion systems "commercially viable" by 2030, reaching the same cost or cheaper than fossil fuels within 11 years.
"The next 5-10 years are going to be crucial," Chief Operating Officer Soren Toft said. "We will invest significant resources for innovation and fleet technology."
"Maersk is right that emissions have to go to zero before 2050 if we are to avoid climate catastrophe and they should be applauded for promoting this long-term objective, but that doesn't absolve them of responsibility for reducing emissions in the short-term," said John Maggs, senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk.
"In addition to this long-term vision they need to stop blocking efforts to cap and reduce ship speeds, the only short-term measure that can produce the deep, fast cuts in emissions that are necessary to keep warming below 1.5 degrees."
Maersk's announcement is at least partly a response to the International Maritime Organisation's landmark Initial Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy, adopted in April.
The objectives agreed to by governments in this strategy are to at least halve shipping sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to reduce by 40 per cent carbon intensity of the industry by 2030, both compared to 2008 levels.