Shipping’s Draft Emissions Target is a Small Step but in the Right Direction

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

April 6, 2018
Raul Arce-Contreras, +1 (240) 480-1545,

After a week of intense negotiations, a working group of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has produced a draft initial greenhouse gas (GHG) strategy that calls on international shipping to reduce total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050. The strategy will need to be finalized next week at the Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the IMO as it does not yet reflect consensus between all parties.

“Although the IMO’s draft emissions target would represent a positive step to address international shipping’s contribution to climate change, it does not do enough to drive the needed investment in clean solutions. Many countries, including EU Member States and small island developing states that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, wanted to see a quantified emission reduction target in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals, which would mean a 70-100% emissions reduction by 2050. Industry groups have also been calling for the IMO to set a more ambitious target.

“Shipping has an opportunity to show to the world it can step up to the challenge of climate change with an ambitious strategy, enacted through effective policies and measures. Key to this will be securing a redirection of capital to assist the commercialisation of low emission technology. For example, a carbon price could be recycled back into the sector through a fund supporting the deployment of low or zero carbon vessels and sustainable fuels. Work on policies will need to start as soon as the ink dries on the interim strategy, which should be strengthened and agreed in the MEPC next week.” 

•        Aoife O’Leary, Legal Analyst, EDF Europe


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