World shipping industry agrees to halve carbon emissions by 2050

April 13, 2018 by Dario Thuburn
Shipping and aviation are two sectors that were not covered by the United Nations climate agreement, a deal struck in Paris in 2015 to cap global warming at "well under" 2.0 degrees Celsius by the end of this century

Members of the UN International Maritime Organisation on Friday struck a deal to halve carbon dioxide emissions from shipping by 2050 in a deal that will force the industry to redesign fleets.

"The initial strategy envisages for the first time a reduction in total GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions by at least 50 percent by 2050 compared to 2008," the IMO said in a statement.

Major shipping nations such as Saudi Arabia and the United States had objected to earlier drafts in two weeks of discussion at the 173-member organisation based in London.

Some countries such as the Marshall Islands, which are at risk of rising seas but are also a major flag state, had wanted a stronger commitment and the EU wanted a 70 to 100 percent cut.

But the agreement was widely hailed by stakeholders.

"This is a ground-breaking agreement—a Paris agreement for shipping—that sets a very high level of ambition for the future reduction of ," the International Chamber for Shipping's secretary general Peter Hinchliffe said.

"We are confident this will give the shipping industry the clear signal it needs to get on with the job of developing zero carbon dioxide fuels so that the entire sector will be in a position to decarbonise completely," he said.

Some coutnries like Marshall Islands, which has endured worsening storm surges due to global warming, are at a higher risk of rising seas and wanted a stronger committment to reduce carbon dioxide emssions

'Watershed moment'

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine also praised the .

"Today the IMO has made history. While it may not be enough to give my country the certainty it wanted, it makes it clear that international shipping will now urgently reduce emissions and play its part in giving my country a pathway to survival," she said in a statement.

Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, tweeted: "We were pushing for stronger targets but still a great step that IMO seeks to halve the shipping sector's greenhouse gases by 2050".

Shipping and aviation are two sectors that were not covered by the United Nations climate agreement, a deal struck in Paris in 2015 to cap global warming at "well under" 2.0 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.

The aviation sector reached an emissions plan two years ago but shipping has taken longer because its reliance on long-distance ships that run on bunker fuel makes it harder to cut .

Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine said the deal gives her "country a pathway to survival" even if it " may not be enough to give my country the certainty it wanted"

Shipping accounts for around 2.0 percent of and that share could rise to around 15 percent if left unchecked, according to the World Bank.

The Climate Action Network said Friday's deal was "a welcome first step".

Some environmental groups have warned that a 50 percent cut may not be enough to keep global warming below 2.0 degrees Celsius.

Britain's Shipping Minister Nusrat Ghani said the deal was a "watershed moment".

"We will work with fellow member states to ensure the makes the transition to zero emissions ships as quickly as possible," she said.

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24volts
not rated yet Apr 14, 2018
The only ways I can see them doing what they want is either by using nuclear-powered drive systems (steam or electric) or fuel cells with electric drives. Since they all seem to be afraid of those nuclear systems even though they have proved to be very safe over the years, I don't see them making their goal as soon as they would like. Fuel cells might work at least for the smaller ships at first and eventually for the super-sized versions but those huge piston engines they use now are going to have to go and it doesn't really matter what petroleum-based fuel they try to burn in them.

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