Ambitious IMO strategy to reduce shipping emissions 50% bu 2050

Monday, 16 Apr, 2018

"While it may not be enough to give my country the certainty it wanted, it makes it clear that worldwide 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.

More specifically, under the identified "levels of ambition", the initial strategy envisages for the first time a reduction in total GHG emissions from worldwide shipping which, it says, should peak as soon as possible and to reduce the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely.

Proposals for cutting carbon dioxide emissions in shipping have been under discussion for a number of years.

Members of the UN International Maritime Organisation on Friday struck a deal to halve carbon dioxide emissions from shipping by 2050 in a deal that will force the industry to redesign fleets. A group of nine countries including Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India proposed that there should be no outright cap on shipping sector emissions.

In Brussels, the European Commission hailed the deal as "a significant step forward" in the global effort to tackle climate change. Barring two countries, most nations, even the ones with huge shipping industries, have supported the agreement, an expert, who was part of the negotiations, told IANS.

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said the adoption of the strategy was another successful illustration of the renowned IMO spirit of cooperation
IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said the adoption of the strategy was another successful illustration of the renowned IMO spirit of cooperation

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". "For this initial strategy to succeed, it is now crucial that effective reduction measures are swiftly adopted and put in place before 2023".

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. "It makes clear that the shipping industry and fuel supplier need to scale up investments in new technologies and their rapid deployment, including alternative fuels and propulsion systems", said Mark Lutes, senior global climate policy advisor, WWF.

Now that the initial strategy has been finalized, IMO will consider which, if any, of the short-term measures should be made mandatory. "Without these, the goals of the Paris agreement will remain out of reach".

The strategy's targets are not binding, and the MEPC has characterised the document as a framework that demonstrates the level of ambition across the IMO's member states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.