Article / 10 Apr, 2018
Initial IMO Strategy for Reducing Shipping Emissions Set for Adoption

UN Climate Change News, 10 April 2018 – The world’s shipping sector is poised to make a key contribution to the Paris Climate Change Agreement this week through the adoption of a first strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships.

The initial strategy is set to be adopted at the meeting of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 72), taking place on 9-13 April in London.  

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping is crucial to tackling climate change. Maritime transport is currently responsible for only 2.5% of global emissions, but its emissions are projected to grow by up to 250 percent by 2050.   

The MEPC is expected to adopt an initial strategy, a framework for its 173 member countries, which is likely to be a starting point for emission reduction targets and guiding principles for the shipping industry to become part of the transition to low-carbon future.  

Ahead of the meeting, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and the UN climate chief, Patricia Espinosa, called on countries meeting this week to set a course sufficiently ambitious to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The agreement aims to limit the rise in global average temperatures to well below two degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees as compared to the pre-industrial level.

“The Secretary General calls on nations to adopt an ambitious initial strategy at the IMO that would support the modernization of the shipping sector in a manner consistent with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement,” said Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres.  

“The Secretary General stresses the importance of global efforts to address climate change at the MEPC meeting in London. Given the increasing vulnerability of all nations, economies and communities to the impacts of climate change, policy and market signals need to quickly align to encourage the maritime industry to make the needed transition toward zero net greenhouse gas emissions,” he added.

In his opening address, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim called on members to raise climate action ambition.

“We stand here at one of the most historic moments in IMO when, for some years now, the global community has brought nations together in a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change. As a member of the United Nations family, IMO is encouraged by the spirit of the Paris Agreement and fully committed to further limit and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping, bearing in mind the successful progress which has been achieved to date,” said the IMO Secretary-General.  

“This strategy that you decide to adopt this week is designed as a strong statement addressed to the outside world and, as a platform, will pave the way forward for future work related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships. In that sense we should all keep in mind that this initial Strategy is not a final stage but rather a key starting point,” said the IMO Secretary-General.

Global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from shipping rely on improvements in energy efficiency and the uptake of low-carbon technologies as explained in this video.