Published: Mon, April 16, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

World shipping industry agrees to halve carbon emissions by 2050

World shipping industry agrees to halve carbon emissions by 2050

Both shipping and aviation have remained outside worldwide negotiations like the 2015 Paris climate accord, and this is partly down to the difficulties with attributing these emissions to particular countries, and also the reluctance of both industries to submit to monitoring and data sharing.

"The initial strategy agreed by MEPC 72 is the first of its kind, not only because it goes well beyond the Paris Agreement with the introduction of quantitative targets, but also because, in doing so, shipping becomes the first industry to adopt such concrete global goals for the reduction of its total GHG emissions".

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has agreed to halve shipping's greenhouse gas (GHG) by 2050 despite many nations hoping for a larger reduction.

"Meeting this target means that in the 2030s most newly built ocean-going vessels will run on zero carbon renewable fuels".

Shipping now accounts for around 2.5 percent of global GHG emissions, but this is expected to rise steeply, so that by 2050 it will account for 16 percent of the total carbon budget agreed by the 2015 Paris climate deal, believed to be what's required to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C. 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. The Marshall Islands, which is among the top flag states, and European Union had proposed a 70% reduction in GHG emissions, while countries such as Brazil, India, Saudi Arabia, and United States had opposed absolute emission targets, preferring to focus on reducing the carbon intensity of ships.

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British-based research group InfluenceMap said an emissions cut of 70% would have been "much closer to what is needed if shipping is to be in line with the goals of the Paris agreement". "Preparations on longer term actions should also begin", Bulc and Cañete said in a joint statement.

Shipping now represents 2-3% of global Carbon dioxide emissions and could reach 10% by 2050 if no action is taken, the Commission reminded.

The global shipping industry has taken a crucial step in addressing climate change. "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.

"The IMO must move swiftly to introduce measures that will cut emissions deeply and quickly in the short-term". No other reproduction or distribution is permitted without prior written consent.

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