LONDON: The UN’s shipping body has settled on the main elements of an interim strategy aiming to decarbonise the sector.
Over 170 countries meeting at the International Maritime Organisation in London had some substantive discussion on objectives and ways to decarbonise shipping resulting in a 7-step outline that now needs to be developed into an interim plan due in 2018.
One proposal calling for the shipping sector to adopt climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement and decarbonise by the second half of the century gained overwhelming expressions of support but failed to reach a consensus.
The meeting saw China and India voice strong support for alternative low carbon fuels, and a coalition of Pacific and European nations highlight the urgency of taking in-sector action. A number of countries with long lines of communication – among them Brazil and Chile – voiced concerns about potentially negative impacts of reduction measures.
Shipping accounts for 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but a 2014 UN study predicts growth in trade could swell its carbon footprint 50-250% by 2050, blowing chances of limiting global warming to well below 2C, as targeted in the Paris Agreement.
The 7-step plan agreed recently will form the basis of the IMO’s first substantial attempt to tackle climate change, 20 years after first being requested to do so under the Kyoto Protocol.