Over 170 countries, including India, signed an agreement in London earlier this week to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 50 per cent (based on 2008 levels) from shipping by 2050. The deal, which was struck after intense negotiations at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), will force the industry to redesign its fleet and switch from using fossil fuels to running vessels on renewable energy.
“The IMO’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 100 per cent in 2050 is major progress,” Tristan Smith, Reader in Energy and Shipping with the UCL Energy Institute, said in a statement, reported news agency IANS. “The world’s shipping industry has now, for the first time, defined its commitment to tackle climate change, bringing it closer in-line with the Paris Agreement.”
The rise of international trade is the main reason for the increase in shipping emissions. Ships transport more than 80 per cent of global trade. Barring two countries, most nations, even the ones with huge shipping industries, have supported the agreement, an expert, who was part of the negotiations, told IANS.
John Maggs, President of the Clean Shipping Coalition and senior policy advisor, Seas At Risk, said, “We have an important agreement, and this level of ambition will ultimately require a sector-wide shift to new fuels and propulsion technologies, but what happens next is crucial. The IMO must move swiftly to introduce measures that will cut emissions deeply and quickly in the short-term. Without these, the goals of the Paris agreement will remain out of reach.”
Zero emission from shipping by 2035 was the most ambitious proposal on the table at the IMO, made by the climate-vulnerable Marshall Islands and allies. According to a UN report, compared to China, India and Brazil were minor players in the shipping industry with 1.21 per cent and 0.88 per cent, respectively, of the overall world share.