Decarbonization of Maritime Transport: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Harilaos N. Psaraftis*, Christos A. Kontovas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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The purpose of this paper is to assess the status and prospects of the decarbonization of maritime transport. Already more than two years have passed since the landmark decision of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in April 2018, which entailed ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships. The paper attempts to address the following three questions: (a) where do we stand with respect to GHG emissions from ships, (b) how is the Initial IMO Strategy progressing, and (c) what should be done to move ahead? To that effect, our methodology includes commenting on some of the key issues addressed by the recently released 4th IMO GHG study, assessing progress at the IMO since 2018, and finally identifying other issues that we consider relevant and important as regards maritime GHG emissions, such as for instance the role of the European Green Deal and how this may interact with the IMO process. Even though the approach of the paper is to a significant extent qualitative, some key quantitative and modelling aspects are considered as well. On the basis of our analysis, our main conjecture is that there is not yet light at the end of the tunnel with respect to decarbonizing maritime transport.
Original languageEnglish
Article number237
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • IMO
  • CO2 emissions
  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Decarbonization
  • Maritime transport

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