Can Shipping Nations Act on Global Emissions?

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 22, 2016

Photo by Aiswarya Lakshmi

Photo by Aiswarya Lakshmi

 Shipping was not included in the global temperature-reduction targets agreed in the historic 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, yet the shipping industry pledged to move forward “in the spirit of Paris,” says a report in the WSJ.

 
There is much businesses and shipping nations can do to act on global emissions standards, says the report.
 
The fight against climate change “a top priority,” says Kitack Lim, the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s secretary-general. But the shipping nations within IMO have fallen well short of following the Paris model.
 
Shipping doesn't figure in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) as it is a global activity, so it would be complicated to apportion shipping emissions to nations. 
 
Instead, the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping falls to the International Maritime Organization, the specialized agency of the United Nations that sets global standards for international shipping.
 
Three things are missing: a target, measures to reach the target and a driver of change.
 
Shipping has an important stake in the global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. The industry’s emissions output measured 900 million metric tons in 2012, representing 2.6% of global emissions. According to an IMO study, greenhouse gas emissions may increase up to 250% by 2050.
 
The industry would have to cut these emissions in half by 2050 to be in line with the pathway to the Paris target. However, there is no target for the industry at all.
 
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