UN Climate Change News, 14 April 2018 — Countries at the International Maritime Organization have taken a crucial step to limit the climate impact of global maritime transport.
At a historic session in London of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), 173 Member States have adopted an initial strategy to reduce the carbon emissions of global shipping by at least 50% in 2050 compared with 2008.
Nations agreed on pursuing effort towards phasing out emissions taking into account the objectives of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, whose main goal is to limit the rise in global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial level.
After adoption of the decision, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said: “The decision to at least halve greenhouse gas emissions from international maritime transport by 2050 is a major milestone in addressing climate change. It will accelerate the inevitable decarbonization of global shipping, which we all need to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
I call on all nations to build on this achievement and use the review mechanism enshrined in the strategy to step up the level of ambition in 2023 when the strategy will be reviewed in light of the new science and available solutions. The climate compass is now clear, a low-carbon and resilient future is the only way forward for the sustainability of maritime transport.”
International shipping account for around 2.2% of global CO2 emissions and they are projected to grow between 50 and 250 percent by 2050 if no action is taken.
International shipping and aviation are not explicitly addressed in the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has adopted an aircraft CO2 emissions standard which will reduce the impact of aviation greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate and will soon put in place market-based measures designed to offset growth in aviation emission beyond 2020 through verified emission reductions.
With this decision, nations have also adopted its first-ever comprehensive greenhouse gas reduction strategy for the shipping sector that will be reviewed over time through a mechanism that will allow further increase in the level of ambition.
For more information on the MEPC’s session, click here.