UN Body Reaches Agreement To Cut Global Shipping Emissions

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

Delegates adopted an initial strategy as a "pathway of Carbon dioxide emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals".

"The International Maritime Organization's commitment to reduce GHG by 50 to 100% in 2050 is major progress; the world's shipping industry has now, for the first time, defined its commitment to tackle climate change, bringing it closer in-line with the Paris Agreement".

More than 100 of the IMO's 173 member states met under the organization's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MPEC) to discuss a package of measures to reduce emissions from global shipping. Delegates also adopted a roadmap for the strategy's implementation, which states that the strategy will be revised in 2023.

IMO's initial strategy sets out the future vision for worldwide shipping, aims for reducing GHG emissions, guiding principles to achieving these goals, and short-, mid- and long-term measures for the future with possible timelines and their impacts on Member States. The strategy also identifies barriers and supportive measures including capacity building, technical cooperation and research and development. "I am confident in relying on your ability to relentlessly continue your efforts and develop further actions that will soon contribute to reducing GHG emissions from ships".

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Aside from ICS, the outcome of MEPC 72 has been largely welcomed by industry organisations including BIMCO, The Coalition for Clean Shipping and Interferry. He said that some governments would have preferred to see the adoption of even more aggressive targets, but noted that the strategy agreed is highly ambitious given current projections for trade growth. If nothing had been done, these emissions could have increased by 50% to 250% by 2050. Further work, including the development and deployment of legally binding policy measures, is expected over the next few years.

The IMO has agreed to hold a fourth inter-sessional meeting of its working group on reducing GHGs later in the year. A 50% reduction in emissions is a substantial target, especially considering the complex decision-making process at the IMO.

GHG emissions from worldwide shipping now contribute an estimated 2.2% of global GHG emissions; however emissions are projected to increase between 50% and 2050% by 2050 to accommodate raising volumes of worldwide trade in goods and resources.

"The ambitious objectives that have been set will require adequate technological solutions".

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This is the first time the industry has committed to such a target.

"The move will send a signal through the industry that rapid innovation is now needed".

Storage of energy by using cold ironing (or the supply of shoreside electrical power to a ship at berth when its main and auxiliary engines are turned off) and batteries.

Despite a largely positive reception to the deal, the United States remains cynical about the demand to reduce emissions by such a lofty figure.

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