The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is considering providing $1.5m to fast-track the creation of a research and development (R&D) fund that could be used to accelerate decarbonisation of the shipping industry.

Discussions have been held between the GCF, the largest global fund fighting climate change, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) on the sidelines of the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow.

The IMO will consider proposals to create a $5bn IMO Maritime Research Fund (IMRF) at a meeting after COP26.

The potential availability of up to $1.5m from the GCF Project Preparation Facility (PFF) to fast-track the creation of the IMRF will be further discussed in the coming weeks, the organisations said.

The PPF proposal, to be requested by a GCF accredited entity, could be used to pay for the feasibility and governance work required to set up the fund quickly as soon as it is approved by the IMO, they added.

"The IMRF proposal would provide guaranteed levels of funding to all member countries at no cost to taxpayers, to accelerate the production of zero emission ships," they said.

Initial discussions about the idea were discussed in the margins of the ICS' Shaping the Future of Shipping conference held at the weekend in Glasgow by IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim, ICS secretary general Guy Platten and Javier Manzanares, deputy executive director of the GCF.

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A key aim was to develop solutions to ensure that developing economies from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Pacific can access technology and funding for zero carbon ships plus the required infrastructure.

The $5bn IMRF would be overseen by the IMO and financed through a mandated R&D contribution by shipowners of $2 per tonne of fuel consumed. It is hoped the fund can be in place by 2023.

Platten said: "With the GCF funds we would also have the start-up funds in place. The only thing that can stop us now are member states' willingness to live up to the commitments they are making here in Glasgow."

The meeting also discussed the possibility of GCF providing additional support to developing economies to attract match funding, which could significantly increase the levels of R&D available.

Manzanares said: "The GCF is proud to have joined the global methane pledge, which has strong synergies with this initiative, and welcomes moves to foster innovation that will drive the climate transformation of the maritime industry."