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IMO adopts plan to halve shipping GHG emissions by 2050

By Dr David Cowan

16 April 2018 at 09:07 BST

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) compromise aims to cut GHG emissions by half.

IMO aims to cut CHG emissions by halve

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted a plan proposed by a key IMO committee to cut the shipping industry's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 50% from 2008 levels by 2050. The UN body's Marine Environment Protection Committee adopted the strategy after a week-long meeting at the IMO's London headquarters.

Commenting on the agreement, IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said the strategy “is designed as a strong statement addressed to the outside world and, as a platform, will pave the way forward for future work related to reduction of GHG emissions from ships. In that sense we should all keep in mind that this initial Strategy is not a final stage but rather a key starting point.” However, Mr. Lim also stated the deal was a "compromise positon" that "may not be satisfactory to all".

Diverse poposals
The plan requires the industry to reach peak GHG emissions "as soon as possible" and
requires carbon dioxide emission cuts "per transport work, as an average across international shipping" of at least 40% by 2030 and "pursuing efforts towards 70% by 2050". Various countries' delegations offered a wide range of proposals, ranging from no outright cap on carbon emissions to a 100% drop by 2035. The European Union proposal was for a 70-100% cut in shipping's carbon emissions from 2008's levels by 2050, arguing anything less would threaten the goal of the 2015 Paris Agreement to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. A group of nine countries including Brazil, Saudi Arabia and India proposed that there should be no outright cap on shipping sector emissions. Japan argued for a 50% cut by 2060, and the Marshall Islands have called for a 100% cut by 2035.


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