The maritime shipping sector is a large global greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter, exacerbating climate change and harming the health of communities, the environment, and the economy. We work in partnership with local communities and the public and private sectors to transform maritime shipping toward a carbon-free future.
Cargo ships transport 90% of the world’s freight — from consumer goods to industrial commodities. While the maritime industry allows supply chains to flow, it also exacerbates the climate crisis. If the shipping industry were a country, it would be the sixth-worst GHG emitter in the world at 1 billion tons annually. A variety of other contaminants emitted from vessels contribute to 60,000 deaths each year related to heart and respiratory diseases, particularly among communities based near seaports. As global trade continues to grow, so will the role of international shipping as a driver of climate change, rising from 3% of global GHG emissions in 2022 to potentially 17% or more by mid-century.
There is a viable path toward cleaner international shipping. An assortment of promising solutions — from zero-carbon fuels to efficiency measures like wind sails — can cleanly power the large cargo vessels that dominate deep-sea transportation. Meanwhile, electricity can propel ferries, tugboats, and other harbor craft. Modernized seaports and green shipping corridors can lay the infrastructure to scale the adoption of these zero-emission technologies. Enacting stronger global regulations, attracting investments toward innovative technologies, and building public and private partnerships will accelerate a zero-carbon transition toward healthy port communities and thriving economies. Philanthropy can serve as a central catalyst for the transition away from fossil-fueled shipping.