G7 countries to steer IMO to higher emissions ambition

Seven major economies have set their sights on more ambitious emission targets for international shipping ahead of IMO’s crucial talks next month.

The G7 group of countries – comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US –will together aim to drive IMO’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target higher, to net-zero by 2050. At the G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment on April 15-16 in Japan, the group noted a common aim for shipping emissions, which will also include new intermediate IMO targets in 2030 and 2040.


The statement from group comes ahead of the critical MEPC 80 in July, at which a new IMO emissions reduction ambition and strategy will be negotiated. Following the introduction of short-term measures at the beginning of this year (including the Carbon Intensity Indicator and the Energy Efficiency Index for Existing Ships) discussions will also continue on mid-term measures.


The G7 group said: “We commit to work for the development and adoption of mid-term measures by 2025, consisting of regulatory signals and incentives to accelerate the transformation of shipping, such as the introduction of zero-emission ships in the early stage, while recognising the importance of a just and equitable transition that leaves no one behind.”


In a separate commitment, the meeting pledged to develop at least 14 green corridors involving G7 members by the mid-2020s, and to support the development of green corridors worldwide.


Elsewhere in the ministers’ communiqué, the group outlined commitments to continue working towards the adoption of the new UN treaty on the Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), scheduled to take place on June 19-20. The BBNJ treaty will include the establishment of protected areas to improve conservation of marine biodiversity, as well as greater scrutiny of ocean industries including shipping, fishing and aquaculture.


Pledges were also made to further clamp down on illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, including through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s Agreement on Port State Measures, which aims to prevent IUU vessels from entering ports and landing their catches. Another pledge targeted marine plastic litter through existing G7 and G20 action plans, as well as IMO’s efforts to reduce abandoned, lost and otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG).


“Acknowledging that key contributors [to plastic pollution] include inadequate prevention and management of… sea-based sources, we will continue to support IMO negotiations on fishing gear marking and reporting of ALDFG,” the group said.

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