"Raising the ambition for global regulation remains crucial to ensure shipping's contribution to reach the Paris Agreement's goal of staying below two degrees Celsius temperature rise," Maersk head of sustainability strategy John Kornerup Bang wrote in a letter released recently.
Over the next three decades, shipping's share of the world's CO2 output is expected to swell to 15 per cent, up from its current level of two per cent, according to the UCL Energy Institute and the Danish Shipowner's Association, reported The Maritime Executive of Fort Lauderdale.
Like others in the industry, Mr Bang noted that much more innovation will be required before shipping can do without fossil fuel altogether.
However, he pointed out that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has already identified existing technology to lower the sector's emissions by 75 per cent.
Maersk has often been at the head of the pack on energy efficiency, and it was an early adopter of ultra large container ships, slow steaming and bulbous bow replacements. Overall, Maersk Line has cut its CO2 emissions per TEU by 40 per cent over the last ten years, and Mr Bang said that it is aiming to take this to 60 per cent by 2020.
However, he stressed that the world's shipping line can't do it alone. The solution, he suggests, is regulatory guidance that would level the global playing field.
In particular, he said that Maersk was disappointed that shipping was not included in the COP21 treaty in 2015; the sector was left out of the landmark climate agreement following lobbying by IMO, which argued that shipping's CO2 should be regulated through the traditional convention and ratification process.
Over the years since, IMO's member states have not yet settled on specific regulations, though they have agreed to a fuel consumption monitoring programme. Mr Bang said that the pressure is on for IMO to act, and "we would have preferred to see more progress during [the latest meeting] in October this year, particularly on the level of ambition."
He expressed hope that IMO will reach an agreement with concrete measures at the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting next year.