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IMO wants greenhouse gases cut by half by 2050

13 April 2018

Following negotiations at IMO Environmental Committee meeting MEPC 72, over 170 member states have agreed that shipping CO2 emissions shall be halved by 2050 compared to 2008. A very important first step, which should probably have been greater.

Shipping is not included in the Paris Agreement, and this is the first time that IMO has agreed to a greenhouse gas agreement. According to IMO's own estimates, shipping accounts for 2.2% of CO2-emissions, and the share is expected to increase in line with increasing trade and transport needs.

- The agreement is an important step, but I would have liked the step to be much bigger. But it's very important that we now have a common focus and goal. This puts demands on research and innovation in order for the shipping fleet to become greener, says Lighthouse director Åsa Burman.

A 50% reduction is not considered sufficient to be in line with the Paris agreement, that the Earth's average temperature should not increase by more than 1.5 degrees. Therefore, many, within and outside IMO, wanted more ambitious goals. From the EU there was a requirement of at least a 70% reduction and ultimately the goal of shipping to be completely fossil free. However, resistance from, among others, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Panama has led to the lower target of a 50 percent decrease.

In a press release from Swedish Shipowner's Assocication, environmental officer Fredrik Larsson welcomes the decision. He has been part of the Swedish delegation at IMO during the negotiations.

"For Swedish Shipping, this is a positive and very welcome decision, as Sweden is a strong contributing party in after exemplary negotiations. Another positive factor contributing to the decision was that the entire international shipping industry stood up saying "we both want and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions but need ambitious targets".

Fredrik Larsson also says:

- Swedish Shipping supports this historical and international decision on shipping greenhouse gas emissions and has been working for a zero emissions vision by 2050 for several years. Our member companies are at the forefront of sustainable shipping and the decision confirms that our investments are correct. Among other things, Swedish shipping companies have converted existing vessels and ordered new vessels, ranging from LNG operations, methanol to wind and batteries, in addition to extensive energy efficiency measures. We will continue to contribute to achieving the climate goals, and  I am sure we can not only achieve but also exceed the goals if we get the help needed by our decision makers, Fredrik Larsson says.

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