Shippers urged to adopt emissions targets

23 May 2017

A major trade association for shipping owners and operators has urged the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt dramatic CO2 reduction targets.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said shippers would prefer a global target, which matches the ambition of the Paris Agreement on climate change, to piecemeal regulation carried out by individual states or regions.

The ICS said this would head off the danger of market-distorting measures at national or regional level.     

However, it also stressed that such targets must not place “a binding cap on the sector’s total CO2 emissions or on the CO2 emissions of individual ships”.

The ICS said this would “protect the concerns of developing nations” and “dramatic CO2 reductions alongside increasing trade can only be achieved with the development of alternative fossil-free fuels”.

The ICS said targets should aim to maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels.

They should also reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008. And the IMO was urged to reduce international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050.

ICS chairman Esben Poulsson said: “It is very important that IMO sends a clear and unambiguous signal to the global community that shipping’s regulators have agreed some ambitious objectives.

“Shipping has a very good story to tell about reducing CO2 but this is difficult to convey so long as there is no clear signal from IMO as to what our collective CO2 reduction objectives should be.”  

The IMO has been urged to adopt these objectives as part of its initial CO2 reduction strategy, to be agreed in 2018.

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