IMO adopts plan to halve shipping GHG emissions by 2050

IMO adopts plan to halve shipping GHG emissions by 2050

Peter Hinchliffe, Secretary General of the ICS, said: "This is a ground breaking agreement - a Paris Agreement for shipping - that sets a very high level of ambition for the future reduction of Carbon dioxide emissions".

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), said the adoption of the initial strategy "would allow future IMO work on climate change to be rooted in a solid basis". The meeting was attended by more than 100 IMO Member States.

"While it may not be enough to give my country the certainty it wanted, it makes it clear that global shipping will now urgently reduce emissions and play its part in giving my country a pathway to survival", said President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands Hilda C. Heine.

Shipping and aviation are two sectors that were not covered by the United Nations climate agreement, a deal struck in Paris in 2015 to cap global warming at "well under" 2.0 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russian Federation also aired concerns with the proposal, such as suggesting an absolute cap on GHG emissions, but all agreed with the implementation of the initial strategy.

The strategy implies that worldwide shipping would consume between 3.8% and 5.8% of the world's remaining carbon budget under the Paris Agreement, up from 2.3% in 2015.

While the European Union had sought a higher level of ambition, the Commission said the deal was "a good starting point that will allow for further review and improvements over time".

Expectations are that over the next few years this target will be tightened and brought closer in line with the Paris Agreement commitments. "Preparations on longer term actions should also begin", Bulc and Cañete said in a joint statement.

Shipping accounts for around 2.0 percent of global carbon emissions and that share could rise to around 15 percent if left unchecked, according to the World Bank.

"We will work with fellow member states to ensure the shipping industry makes the transition to zero emissions ships as quickly as possible", she said.

John Maggs, President of the Clean Shipping Coalition and senior policy advisor, Seas At Risk, said, "We have an important agreement, and this level of ambition will ultimately require a sector-wide shift to new fuels and propulsion technologies, but what happens next is crucial".

Now that the initial strategy has been finalized, IMO will consider which, if any, of the short-term measures should be made mandatory.

The agreed-upon strategy referred to "a pathway of Carbon dioxide emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals".

The initial strategy represents a framework for Member States, setting out the future vision for global shipping, the levels of ambition to reduce GHG emissions and guiding principles; and includes candidate short-, mid- and long-term further measures with possible timelines and their impacts on States. No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

A final IMO plan is not expected until 2023.

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