The shipping industry is not unique in trying to reduce its global carbon footprint. Strict technical requirements look set to be imposed upon the industry by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) from 2023. Naturally, ship owners will look to reduce the cost of compliance where possible. Liquid natural gas (LNG) is seen by many within the energy industry as a "transition fuel", to be used until global energy demand can be fully satisfied by renewable sources. Although LNG is still a fossil fuel, it is far less harmful to the environment than traditional coal and oil. 

Although the more modern LNG carriers can use part of their LNG cargo as fuel for propulsion, not all of them can. Approximately half of the global LNG fleet still use marine diesel (in its various grades). Where fleet modernisation is not a financially viable option for the ship owner, other potential measures they could take include slow-steaming. The problem is, when the effect of such a "carbon-cutting" measure is extrapolated, its effect could prove wholly counter-productive. 

To illustrate, slow steaming could cause a shortfall in LNG supply; which in turn could cause the price of LNG to spike; and as a result of which we may see "gas to coal switching" - owing to the comparatively cheaper price of coal. This practice may manifest particularly in the United States and in Asia (which is the world’s largest consumer of LNG at continent level). Therefore, the efficacy of carbon-cutting measures such as this, arguably boils down to ease of compliance, and ultimately - money. 

In that regard, it is perhaps time to look again at global governmental energy subsidies with a view to drastically increasing capital allocation toward the LNG sector. LNG is widely acknowledged as being one of the critical fuel sources to get us to 2050 carbon neutrality, therefore we must not look past its importance. It is perhaps outdated that traditional fossil fuels should enjoy the lion's share of global subsidy allocation. Whilst a redistribution ought to take place sooner rather than later, there is a danger that if the focus is mainly on renewable energy, to the detriment of LNG, then this could set us all up for a fall, because nobody is able to "run before they can walk".