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TIN news:  At its AGM in Istanbul, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) agreed to urge the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to adopt some dramatic CO2 reduction objectives – on behalf of the international shipping sector as a whole – in order to match the ambition of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

ICS Chairman, Esben Poulsson, highlighted the importance of IMO sending a clear and unambiguous signal that shipping’s regulators have agreed some ambitious objectives, with numbers and dates, for minimizing CO2 emissions from shipping, in the same way that land-based activity is now covered by government commitments under the Paris Agreement.

To this end and, in conjunction with other shipping organisations, ICS submitted a proposal to IMO Member States, suggesting that IMO should adopt three Aspirational Objectives, as part of the initial IMO CO2 reduction strategy to be agreed in 2018:

  • To maintain international shipping’s annual total CO2 emissions below 2008 levels
  • To reduce CO2 emissions per tonne-km, as an average across international shipping, by at least 50% by 2050, compared to 2008
  • To reduce international shipping’s total annual CO2 emissions by an agreed percentage by 2050, compared to 2008, as a point on a continuing trajectory of CO2 emissions reduction

ICS notes that IMO should remain in control of additional measures to address CO2 reduction by ships and to develop a global solution, rather than risk the danger of market-distorting measures at national or regional level.

“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”, explained Mr Poulsson.

Importantly, acknowledging concerns of developing nations about the possible impacts of CO2 reduction for trade and sustainable development, ICS emphasises that any objectives adopted by IMO must not imply any commitment to place a binding cap on the sector’s total CO2 emissions or on the CO2 emissions of individual ships.



In June 2017, IMO Member States will begin the development of a Road Map to reduce CO2 emissions from the international shipping sector, in line with the ambitious spirit of the Paris Agreement, adopted by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2015. The intention is for IMO to agree an initial strategy for this Road Map in 2018. 



Concluding, Mr Poulsson emphasised that the CO2 emissions reduction could be accomplished with the development of alternative fossil-free fuels, something that should be highlighted through the IMO strategy.

“The long term future of the industry, like the rest of the world economy, must eventually be fossil fuel free.  The trajectory for getting there, not least the development of alternative fuels, could well take us several decades. But this will only be achieved if the industry itself pushes for the adoption by IMO of some suitability ambitious objectives so that all concerned are under no illusion about the scale of the task ahead.”


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