Shipping Industry Runs Aground on Carbon Reduction Plan
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has picked 2023 as the year it will deliver a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.
The IMO will release an initial plan in 2018, Climate Home reports. But in a late-night compromise hammered out by 45 countries meeting last week in London, UK, “governments will only finalize the strategy after a three-year project to capture ship-level fuel use data, which starts in 2019.”
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International shipping “is responsible for nearly 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but has historically struggled to deliver a consensus on how to cut carbon pollution,” writes Climate Home correspondent Ed King. “A 2014 IMO study said these could rise 50-250% by 2050.”
The IMO called the decision “an important milestone on the road to controlling greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping.” Climate and energy groups heartily disagreed.
“This can in no way be seen as an adequate response” to the Paris Agreement, said Clean Shipping Coalition President John Maggs. “What is urgently needed is a clear sense of the scale of emission reductions to keep warming to safe levels.”
“Apparently the IMO prefers open-ended reviews to concrete action,” added Bill Hemmings, shipping director at Transport and Environment.
“It’s a start, but there is no urgency here for me,” said WWF-UK Marine Manager Simon Walmsley. “If they can measure fuel, they can save fuel. It needs to be done faster, and it needs to inform the climate change strategy.”
Earlier in the week, Climate Home reported that the IMO’s decision to cut maximum sulphur content in marine fuels from 3.5 to 0.5% by 2020 could prevent 200,000 premature deaths per year. “This is a landmark decision and we are very pleased that the world has bitten the bullet and is now tackling poisonous sulphuric fuel,” Hemmings said.
But “the battle to get this deal has been immense, and raises questions over the capability of the IMO to deliver a similar agreement on climate change,” King wrote at the time.