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Pressure mounts on IMO to set CO2 reduction targets


The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has stressed the need for the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to set aa feasible target for the further reduction of CO2 emissions by shipping that will match the expectations of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In view of the stringent conditions, the Chamber said there are indications that more governments may have to compromise on the target.

The message was conveyed ahead of the critical meetings of the IMO, MEPC 72, set to commence on April 3.

ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, said: “Governments on all sides of the debate are going showing more willingness to compromise on their current positions or put at risk an agreement on a meaningful strategy. This would greatly undermine the authority of IMO and the future sustainability of the shipping industry,”


Poulsson stressed that agreement on the total reduction of CO2 emissions by the sector, regardless of trade growth, is vital to discourage unilateral action and stimulate the development of zero CO2 fuels.

However, the ICS chairman believes that a 70 to 100 per cent total cut in emissions before 2050, proposed by certain European Union member states, is unlikely to achieve consensus support.

In a briefing note to its member national shipowners’ associations, ICS suggests that if IMO was to set an initial objective of cutting the sector’s total CO2 emissions by, for example, 50 percent, rather than 70 to 100 percent, this would still require a major improvement in ship efficiency over ‘business as usual’.

“A mid-century objective similar to that proposed by Japan – which might also enjoy support from nations like China if EU nations were willing to compromise – would still provide a compelling signal to the industry. This should also be sufficient to stimulate the development of zero CO2 fuels leading to a 100 percent CO2 reduction in line with the ambitious vision which IMO must agree,” Poulsson added.

In advance of zero CO2 fuels becoming available globally, the industry has also proposed that IMO should adopt the following objectives:

Objective one: To maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels; Objective two: To reduce
CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008; and Objective three: Reduce international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction.

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