Maersk: Carbon emissions from freight must be cut to zero by 2050

Maersk (AMKBY), based in Denmark, said its goal is to become carbon neutral by 2050 and encourages other shipping companies to do the same and help develop the technology of a new generation of vessels.

"This is a call for action," said Maersk Chief Operating Officer Soren Toft to CNN's Richard Quest on Tuesday, describing climate change as "one of the most important issues facing the planet."

The Ship Industry "Must Find New Technologies , new innovative ways to basically provide future effective ships, says Toft. "These ships are not available today and therefore we are coming out."

The ship industry burns large quantities of heavy oil and is estimated to amount to about 2% to 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Compared to around 3% generated by international aviation and 1[ads1]1% of agriculture, according to 2014 data from the European Environment Agency. In April, IMO promised to reduce the industry's annual emissions by at least half by 2050.

But Maersk presses to go much further.

"It is important that we find solutions to this problem," said Toft. "We want many future generations to have a healthy and peaceful existence on this earth."

The company believes that the next 5 to 10 years will be crucial for carrying out the research and development needed to get environmentally friendly container ships at sea by 2030.

Maersk has invested $ 1 billion in the last four years in energy efficient technology , but says that it can not make the new ships a reality by themselves.
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"We can only do this when we work together, "told Toft Quest.

British engineer Rolls Royce (RYCEY) said in August that it had developed a lithium-ion battery for ships that would help reduce emissions.

But Maersk's giant cargo vessel, which carries thousands of containers over a thousand miles of open sea, will need completely new technology to meaningfully cut CO2 emissions or eliminate them completely.

The company says it plans to launch a dialogue next year with "all sorts of parties" – including loaders, investors, legislators and technology developers – to start working on the challenge.

Ivana Kottasova contributed to this article.

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