Barcelona Container Port Photo: Davies / CC-BY-SA

The Port of Barcelona is a participating incentive provider in the World Ports Climate Initiative's Environmental Ship Index.

Mitigation and moving towards low carbon waterborne transport infrastructure

All sectors must play their part in climate change mitigation. The waterborne transport infrastructure sector is no exception.

Port and waterway infrastructure and operations typically account for only a very small proportion of the total greenhouse gas emissions associated with the shipment of a particular consignment. The most significant proportion by far is associated with the sea voyage, and a varying amount with connecting transport.

It is nonetheless important that the owners, operators and users of waterborne transport infrastructure take steps to minimise the emissions associated with their activities if they are to contribute to the ‘less-than-2-degrees’ pathway.

The associations represented on the the Navigating a Changing Climate Partnership recognise the importance – and the urgency – of implementing effective mitigation measures and of moving towards low carbon infrastructure.

Coalition members further acknowledge the need for innovation alongside conventional emissions-reduction measures: for example initiatives aimed at improving integration to increase energy efficiency or at creating carbon sinks in coastal areas by Working with Nature.

As with other sectors, such innovation has the potential to bring associated social, employment and economic opportunities.

Monday, 16 August 2021 09:52

Decarbonizing the Air Transportation Sector: New Guidelines for Sustainable Aviation Fuel Greenhouse Gas Emission Accounting and Insetting Launched

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The air transportation industry is responsible for a significant amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year. Immediately before the COVID-19 crisis, the industry emitted approximately 3% of annual global GHG emissions - with that footprint projected to grow. It is therefore critical to reduce aviation GHG emissions as a part of efforts to meet global climate goals.

Use of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), fuels with lower GHG emissions intensity than conventional aviation fuels, is one of the principal options currently available for reducing air transportation GHG emissions.

However, the cost of SAF - which can be several times the cost of conventional aviation fuels - has contributed to SAF’s limited use to date. Insetting, or the purchase of GHG emission reductions within an organization’s value chain, is a tool to spread the cost premium of SAF across the aviation value chain and increase the uptake of SAF.

Smart Freight Centre (SFC) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL) have developed guidelines for insetting in air transportation value chains to facilitate the use of more SAF and help decarbonize the sector.

The guidelines outline an approach to insetting that is flexible enough to drive the long-term value chain collaboration needed to bring SAF use to scale. At the same time, the guidelines include controls to provide entities along the SAF value chain confidence that emission reduction benefits from SAF are of legitimate origin, of a reasonable vintage, and are properly accounted for according to broadly accepted emission accounting methods.

More specifically, the guidelines provide air carriers, logistics service providers, freight shippers, business travelers, travel management companies, and fuel suppliers the details of an accounting and reporting system for SAF insets. There are two key elements to the guidelines:

1. Directions for SAF emissions accounting, based on the Global Logistics Emission Council (GLEC) Framework and aligned with the GHG Protocol.

2. Principles of a book and claim chain of custody system for the clear and transparent tracking and disclosure of the emission reduction benefits of SAF.

“Decarbonizing air transportation is critical to achieving an efficient and zero-emissions global logistics sector. Smart Freight Centre is proud to have collaborated with the CTL in developing these guidelines to scale the uptake of SAF and reduce aviation GHG emissions."
- Dan Smith, Senior Technical Manager, Smart Freight Centre

“Collaborating on projects like these that bring research results to bear on emerging supply chain challenges is one way we engage with industry to foster positive change. It’s exciting to see the publication of this framework and to see our models being put into practice in ways that can influence entire sectors.”

- Chris Caplice, Executive Director of MIT CTL
Download the new SAF accounting and insetting guidelines here. You can also visit the CTL website for more information on SFC and MIT’s work to facilitate collaboration across air transportation value chains, drive the investment necessary to bring SAF production to scale, and decarbonize the aviation sector.


Download the SAF guidelines here