Countries to cut emissions

The global shipping industry agreed a plan to cut its greenhouse gas emissions for the first time on Friday in a deal that had been hard pushed by small Pacific countries.

The agreement came at the end of a week-long meeting of the International Maritime Organisation, a United Nations body, in London, where small countries were pitted against large shipping nations that were against such restrictions.

Friday’s agreement calls for global shipping emissions to peak as soon as possible, and to reduce the total annual greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent of 2008 levels by 2050.

It also calls for efforts to be pursued to phase out greenhouse gas emissions from shipping entirely. The IMO’s Secretary General, Kitack Lim, hailed the agreement as a “successful illustration of a spirit of cooperation,” while Pacific leaders called it historic.

“Today the IMO has made history,” said the Marshall Islands president, Hilde Heine, in a statement.

“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.”

More than 2 per cent of global emissions of carbon dioxide come from the shipping industry, which is roughly equivalent to Germany’s emissions.

But shipping, like aviation, has been excluded from previous environmental accords, such as the 2015 Paris Agreement, because its focus was based on a system of state-level targets.

The Pacific countries have long pushed for a reduction in shipping emissions, which have been mostly unregulated until now.

More Stories