APRIL 13, 2018 — IMO’s Maritime Environment Protection Committee has agreed an initial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategy that requires international shipping to reduce total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels, and to peak emissions as soon as possible.
Peter Hinchliffe, the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, said, “This is a ground breaking agreement – a Paris Agreement for shipping – that sets a very high level of ambition for the future reduction of CO2 emissions. We are confident this will give the shipping industry the clear signal it needs to get on with the job of developing zero CO2 fuels, so that the entire sector will be in a position to decarbonize completely, consistent with the 1.5 degree climate change goal.”
He added “The agreed IMO objective of cutting the sector’s total GHG emissions by at least 50% before 2050, as part of a continuing pathway for further reduction, is very ambitious indeed, especially when account is taken of current projections for trade growth as the world’s population and levels of prosperity continue to increase.”
ICS acknowledges that some governments would have preferred to see the adoption of even more aggressive targets, but argues that a 50% total cut by 2050 can realistically only be achieved with the development and very widespread use of zero CO2 fuels. ICS believes that if this 50% goal is successfully met, the wholesale switch by the industry to zero CO2 fuels should therefore follow very swiftly afterwards.
ICS says that the efficiency goal that has been agreed by IMO Member States for the sector as a whole – a 40% improvement by 2030, compared to 2008, and a 50-70% improvement by 2050 – is also extremely ambitious but probably achievable. But only if governments recognise the enormity of this challenge and facilitate the rapid development of new technologies and fuels.
Mr. Hinchliffe remarked that “The industry is very encouraged by the willingness of governments, on all sides of the debate, to co-operate and move to a position that demonstrates unequivocally that IMO is the only body that can meaningfully address the CO2 emissions of international shipping.”
ICS says it hopes the IMO agreement will be “sufficient to discourage those who mistakenly advocate regional measures which, as well being very damaging to global trade, would not be effective in helping the international shipping sector to further reduce its total CO2 emissions, which are currently about 8% lower than in 2008 despite a 30% increase in maritime trade.”
As a result of the IMO agreement, ICS now expects discussions at IMO to begin in earnest on the development of additional CO2 reduction measures, including those to be implemented before 2023.