More than 170 nations agree to halve shipping emissions by 2050

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said the adoption of the strategy was another successful illustration of the renowned IMO spirit of cooperation

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said the adoption of the strategy was another successful illustration of the renowned IMO spirit of cooperation

The initial strategy represents a framework for Member States, setting out the future vision for global shipping, the levels of ambition to reduce GHG emissions and guiding principles; and includes candidate short-, mid- and long-term further measures with possible timelines and their impacts on States.

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

The meeting set out a vision to cut GHG emissions from shipping by at least 50 percent by 2050, seemingly a more ambitious target than had been anticipated, although less than the 70 percent pursued by the EU.

The commissioners said: "While the European Union had sought a higher level of ambition, this [strategy] is a good starting point that will allow for further review and improvements over time..."

Continuing the momentum of work on this issue, the Committee agreed to hold the fourth Intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships later in the year. "For this initial strategy to succeed, it is now crucial that effective reduction measures are swiftly adopted and put in place before 2023".

"The IMO's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 100 per cent in 2050 is major progress", Tristan Smith, Reader in Energy and Shipping with the UCL Energy Institute, said in a statement, reported news agency IANS. This strategy, which represents the first global climate framework for shipping, includes quantitative GHG reduction targets through 2050 and a list of candidate short-, mid-, and long-term policy measures to help achieve these targets. "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.

Reaching agreement wasn't an entirely straightforward matter, it didn't appear, with seeming disparities between countries' public commitments to the Paris goals and what they were actually willing to agree in the way of reducing emissions, according to the Financial Times. But the IMO Secretary General stressed that the agreement was only an initial strategy, a "starting point", with the final roadmap to be finalised by 2023.

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