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Industry Must Prepare Ships To Sail In Net Zero Emission World

The International Windship Association (IWSA) has called on the International Maritime Organisation  (IMO) to give the industry strong, clear leadership when it comes to its share of carbon reduction, saying that the industry must be prepared as ships built today must operate in a net zero emission world.

The association says that the IMO must lead the industry to deliver lower carbon ships in order for the industry to keep up with developments that will happen following the establishment of the Paris Agreement goal to ensure that global increase in temperatures do not exceed 2 degrees Celsius, as agreed in December 2015 at COP21.

The global shipping industry, represented at the UN by the IMO, was excluded from the Paris Agreement but is under increasing pressure to set a ‘fair share’ carbon target.

Under current policy, shipping’s CO2 emissions are expected to rise by 50-250% by 2050. Paris gives us a target of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by then. That gives little more than a ship’s economic working lifetime, around 30 years, to turn things around. There is simply no room for the sector’s currently expected 1.2-2.8 gigatonnes of carbon emissions in the fast approaching zero emission world.

At an IMO meeting in May 2015 the Marshall Islands called for the establishment of a GHG emission reduction target for international shipping, consistent with keeping global warming below 1.5°C.The paper was supported by 25 countries but the decision was postponed pending the COP21 outcome.

The upcoming IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting which is being held from 18-22 April 2016 offers Governments a genuine opportunity to accelerate carbon reduction action within the shipping sector in line with the rest of the world’s commitment to urgent reduction of GHG emissions.

However, with many other items on the agenda, a serious discussion of this critical issue is not guaranteed.


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