Thursday 13th Dec, 2018

IMO agrees to greenhouse gas reduction plan

Photo: IMO
Photo: IMO

A PLAN to cut greenhouse gas emissions from global shipping has been adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London.

Under the plan, the shipping industry is to cut emissions by “at least” 50% compared with 2008 levels by 2050 while also “pursuing efforts” to phase them out in a timeline consistent with the Paris Agreement.

The decision has been welcomed, albeit not uncritically.

Greenpeace International political advisor Veronica Frank said the plan was far from perfect, but the direction was clear.

“This decarbonisation must start now and targets improved along the way, because without concrete, urgent measures to cut emissions from shipping now the Paris ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees will become swiftly out of reach,” Ms Frank said.

“The IMO plan is a first step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to achieve climate stability. The initial deal will be revised in 2023 and reviewed again in 2028, giving opportunities to strengthen the targets.”

The UK Chamber of Shipping however was fulsome in its praise.

“This agreement commits the shipping industry to reducing its carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2050,” said chief executive Guy Platten.

“But crucially this should be seen as a stepping stone towards decarbonisation in the long term – something which must be continue to be a major focus in the years ahead,” he said.

“Shipping moves 90% of global trade, and people understand the link between trade and prosperity, but rightly they demand we do it in a sustainable and responsible way.”

Mr Platten said meeting these targets would require significant investment in research and development.

“The shipping industry has already made great strides.  Battery-powered ferries operate in Scotland, Scandinavia and elsewhere,” he said.

“Huge investment has gone in to better hydrodynamics, more efficient engines and lower carbon fuels.”

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