Maritime nations agree to cut emissions from cargo ships

The shipping industry reached a long-awaited agreement on Friday to curb emissions from cargo ships. Investors and environmental groups have long pushed for stricter rules on the sector, which is responsible for nearly 3 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

After a week of negotiations at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organisation in London, around 100 countries backed a text with "indicative", and therefore non-binding, targets.

By 2030, polluting emissions must be cut by at least 20 per cent from 2008 levels, with a target of 30 per cent. By 2040, emissions should be cut by at least 70 per cent, with a target of 80 per cent.

Higher targets

Several countries had set higher targets before the meeting. The European Union had pushed for a more significant reduction, namely zero emissions by 2050, with two interim steps: a 29 per cent reduction by 2030 and 83 per cent by 2040. The Pacific islands, which are even more vulnerable to climate change than other countries, wanted a 96 per cent reduction by 2040. Canada and the US supported them.

Most of the 100,000 cargo ships that carry 90 per cent of the world's goods run on heavy fuel oil. In 2018, the IMO called on shipowners to reduce their emissions by 50 per cent from 2008 levels by 2050.

According to environmental groups, the IMO agreement's targets will not be enough to put the sector on track to reduce CO2 emissions, as agreed in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.



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