Shipping currently contributes about 2.2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and emissions are predicted to increase between 50% and 250% by 2050 – depending on future economic and energy developments. However, shipping is excluded from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, so responsibility for reducing its contribution to climate change falls on the IMO.
Last Friday, 13th April, at the 72nd session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), a meeting attended by 100 states, the IMO adopted an initial strategy on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships, setting out a vision to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping and phase them out, as soon as possible in this century. The initial strategy envisages a reduction in the total annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 compared to 2008, while, at the same time, pursuing efforts towards phasing them out entirely. The strategy sets a carbon intensity reduction target – the amount of emissions relative to each tonne of shipping cargo – of at least 40 per cent by 2030, rising to 70 per cent by 2050. The strategy includes a specific reference to “a pathway of CO2 emissions reduction consistent with the Paris Agreement temperature goals”.
The MEPC agreed to hold the fourth Intersessional meeting of the Working Group on Reduction of GHG emissions from ships later in 2018. This working group will be tasked with developing a programme of follow-up actions to the Initial Strategy; further considering how to progress reduction of GHG emissions from ships in order to advise the committee; and reporting to the next session of the MEPC (MEPC 73), which meets 22-26 October 2018.