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.

Sunday, 13 March 2022 12:18

IPCC Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability WG II report published

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The 2022 Working Group II report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, entitled Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, presents “a dire warning about the consequences of inaction” according to the Panel Chair*. Insofar as waterborne transport infrastructure is concerned, the report highlights ports' vulnerability to sea level rise and flooding; their susceptibility to disruption and damage due to changes in wind, wave, heat or fog characteristics; and the potential for less obvious but still important impacts such as those associated with microbiological corrosion of steel marine structures. Low flows will lead to reduced navigability and increased closures of some inland waterways;but extreme high flows or surface water flooding will affect others.

Many sections of this report are relevant to the wider waterborne transport infrastructure sector.  An overview of the full report is provided in the Summary for Policy Makers but of note, Chapter 6 focuses on human settlements and infrastructure; Chapter 16 on key risks across sectors; and 17 on Decision Making Options for Managing Risks.

These can all be downloaded from


*Press Release