Green shipping could add 4m jobs by 2050, report claims

A new report from the Global Maritime Forum and Arup outlines how up to four million jobs could be created by 2050 through decarbonisation of the shipping sector.

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Responsible for around three per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the maritime sector has an enormous carbon footprint – if it was a country, it would be the world’s sixth biggest emitter. With no easy pathway to net zero, shipping decarbonisation will depend largely on low carbon e-fuels derived from green hydrogen, such as e-ammonia.

The new report, Green Jobs and Maritime Decarbonisation, claims that shipping’s demand for e-fuels could rapidly scale to over 500 million tonnes by 2040, rising to 600 million tonnes by 2050. Meeting that demand could require an additional 2TW of renewable energy generation capacity and 1TW of hydrogen production capacity by 2050.

It is this massive expansion of renewable energy around the globe that the report says will account for the vast majority of new jobs, with up to one million created in the 2020s and as many as three million through the 2030s. The hydrogen and e-ammonia production set to be powered by these new terawatts of power will make up the remainder, with the report anticipating several hundred thousand new jobs in these sectors.

“This research marks a critical first step in exploring the fundamental role maritime decarbonisation will play in the creation of green jobs within the energy sector,” said Jesse Fahnestock, director of Decarbonisation at the Global Maritime Forum.

“The analysis demonstrates the sheer scale of the potential to create large numbers of highly-skilled green jobs, in this instance driven by a single fuel. Many of these jobs will also be transferable to other sectors – supporting further decarbonisation beyond shipping.”

According to the report, up to £3.2tn of investment is required for the development of renewables, hydrogen production and e-fuel facilities for shipping. The Global Maritime Forum claims the pivot to green shipping represents a major opportunity to bring high quality jobs to the Global South in particular, where renewable energy resources are abundant.

“The huge levels of investment will impact all corners of the globe, helping many countries around the world provide opportunities to workers negatively affected by the transition away from more carbon-intensive industries,” said report author Connor Bingham, project manager at the Global Maritime Forum.

“It’s vital that we further explore the different geographic implications, particularly in the Global South, to ensure we can unlock the enormous potential for economic growth across nations.”