Green groups were less than thrilled with the declaration, arguing it allows "for delay tactics and fossil fuel loopholes".

UN shipping agency IMO aims to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050.
UN shipping agency IMO aims to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050. (Reuters)

A coalition of 19 countries including Britain and the United States have agreed to create zero emissions shipping trade routes between ports. 

The signatory countries involved in the "Clydebank Declaration", which was launched at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Wednesday, agreed to support the establishment of at least six green corridors by 2025. 

Corridors will require developing supplies of zero emissions fuels, the infrastructure required for decarbonisation and regulatory frameworks. 

"It is our aspiration to see many more corridors in operation by 2030," their mission statement said.

Britain's maritime minister Robert Courts said countries alone would not be able to decarbonise shipping routes without the commitment of private and non-governmental sectors.

"The UK and indeed many of the countries, companies and NGOs here today believe zero emissions international shipping is possible by 2050," Courts said at the launch.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the declaration was "a big step forward for green shipping corridors and collective action".

He said the United States was "pressing for the IMO to adopt a goal of zero emissions for international shipping by 2050".

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Critics say framework is not enough

It was unclear how the green corridor commitments would get to zero shipping emissions.

Green groups were less than thrilled with the declaration, arguing it was not strict enough.

Madeline Rose, with green group Pacific Environment, said "the Clydebank framework leaves room for delay tactics and fossil fuel loopholes".

"We urge partner countries and ports to act quickly to set immediate, interim and ultimately mandatory benchmarks to phase out all fossil fuel ship pollution along their shared corridors," Rose said.

Other signatory countries are Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Denmark, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Republic of Ireland, Japan, Marshall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden. 

Shipping, which transports about 90 percent of world trade, accounts for nearly 3 percent of the world's CO2 emissions.

UN shipping agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO) said it aims to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from ships by 50 percent from 2008 levels by 2050. 

The goal is not aligned with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and the sector is under pressure to be more ambitious.

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Source: Reuters