International shipping agrees a climate target that will drive investment in clean fuel and technology

Environmental Defense Fund Europe statement from Aoife O’Leary, Legal Analyst

April 13, 2018
Raul Arce-Contreras, +1 (240) 480-1545,

(LONDON, United Kingdom – 13 April 2018) The Maritime Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has agreed an initial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction strategy, requiring international shipping to reduce total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels, and to peak emissions as soon as possible. 
Although the quantified target is not in line with the Paris Agreement, the deal reached this week will still drive investments to help reduce the shipping sector’s emissions – currently representing 2.6% of annual global emissions, equivalent to Germany’s. 
The target falls short of the pleas from small island nations, which are the most vulnerable to the damaging effects of climate change, and the calls of EU Member States and international NGOs, including the Environmental Defense Fund, for a target that would be more in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals of a 70-100% emissions reduction by 2050. However, the target is backed by a pledge to peak shipping emissions as soon as possible and EDF is committed to promoting effective policies and measures to help reduce the shipping sector’s climate impacts. 

“The shipping sector’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target represents an important step forward. The IMO has been talking about climate change for twenty years but the strategy agreed this week marks the beginning of a focused debate about the policies and measures that will help the shipping sector modernise and regain the status of a clean and efficient mode of transport. The target falls short on ambition, but should be sufficient to drive policy development and consequently investment in clean fuels and technology. EDF remains committed to working with stakeholders including those in the industry to find the ways that will work in order to peak shipping emissions as soon as possible.” 

  • Aoife O’Leary, Legal Analyst, EDF Europe

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