IMO boss, Kitack Lim, posing next to the 13th sustainable development goal – just what CAN wants to see realised. Photo: / International Maritime Organization CC BY

International shipping must act now

“Actions taken under the International Maritime Organization to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have ranged from disappointing to completely ineffective,” says Climate Action Network International in a new statement (1). “Proceeding under the framework of the 2018 Initial IMO GHG Strategy, the negotiations for short-term measures have produced outcomes that will have no impact on emissions this decade and minimal impact thereafter,” commented CAN.

CAN is concerned that present discussions within the IMO are again delaying action for a long time. Only a small levy on fuels is proposed to fund R&D, which is unlikely to incentivise emissions reductions.
To bring shipping sector emissions in line with the imperative of limiting warming to 1.5°C, CAN demands, for example, that the IMO:

  • adopts a carbon price that will enter into effect by 2025;
  • adopts a rigorous lifecycle approach so that truly sustainable and renewable fuels and energy sources are used;
  • revises the long-term emissions goal to ensure the complete decarbonisation of the sector by 2050 or earlier;
  • adopts other measures necessary to ensure the rapid introduction of zero-carbon renewable sources of energy and propulsion.

The UK government has recently decided to include shipping emissions in its national climate policy carbon budget target. New ships have a life expectancy of 30 years, so the IMO must act now.

Reinhold Pape



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