Disruptive Houthi Threat Challenges Global Shipping’s Net Zero Goals


  • The escalation of Houthi attacks in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean poses a significant disruption to global shipping, jeopardizing efforts to achieve Net Zero emissions.
  • Despite challenges, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) remains committed to advancing climate goals while addressing security concerns and ensuring the safety of seafarers.

Recent Indian navy operations against pirates in the Indian Ocean highlight the severity of disruptions caused by Houthi attacks on international trade routes. The escalating conflict poses a threat to maritime security and challenges efforts to align the shipping industry with Net Zero emissions goals.

Impact on Shipping and Climate Agenda

The chaos in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean has cast a shadow over the IMO’s climate agenda, hindering progress towards reducing carbon emissions. Delegates at a recent IMO meeting expressed concerns about the safety of seafarers and the environmental impact of longer shipping routes due to security risks.

IMO’s Response and Commitment to Net Zero

IMO Secretary General Arsenio Dominguez emphasized the importance of safeguarding seafarers while striving for Net Zero emissions. Despite challenges, the IMO adopted a draft outline for an “IMO net-zero framework” to cut greenhouse gas emissions, demonstrating a continued commitment to climate action amidst security threats.

Challenges and Contingency Plans

Delegates raised concerns about the potential financial burden of carbon pricing on emissions resulting from longer voyages necessitated by security risks. However, the IMO remains steadfast in its pursuit of global, mandatory charges on greenhouse gas emissions, balancing environmental objectives with security challenges.

Uncertainties and Ensuring Safety

Amidst heightened maritime risks, the shipping industry faces the dual challenge of maintaining safety at sea while advancing sustainability goals. Despite ongoing security threats, the industry’s commitment to preventing loss of life and reducing carbon emissions underscores its resilience and determination to overcome adversities.

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Source: The National News