Shipping nations sign “De Brum Declaration” on climate change commitment

A growing number of countries have signed a declaration in Paris this week that pushes them to make sweeping commitments to tacking sipping’s carbon footprint.

The Tony de Brum declaration is named after the late Foreign Minister of the Marshall Islands who died earlier in the year. e had been a vocal supporter of strong action by regulators like the IMO to severely curb CO2 emissions form shipping.

The Tony de Brum declaration was signed in Paris at the One Planet Summit that had been organised by the French government to commemorate the UNFCCC Paris  Agreement.

The Paris Agreement was seen as a significant step in bringing UN countries into alignment on tackling climate change, however it has been criticized by some lobby groups for not including shipping, as well as that the commitment made by countries do not yet meet the level of cuts needed to meet scientists projections of what is needed to curb climate change.

The IMO is currently developing a roadmap and strategy for further regulations, but again there has been criticism that the pace is too slow and the targets likely to be watered down by shipowner groups. The IMO strategy maybe finalized at the next meeting of the IMO’s marine environmental protection committee in April 2018.

In a statement Seas at Risk said the declaration was welcome: “As the declaration makes clear, time is running out for the International Maritime Organisation and the shipping industry to deliver a fair contribution to tackling the climate crisis. A 2018 deal in line with limiting warming to below 1.5C requires a strong long term decarbonisation goal and short-term measures, like speed reduction, that will result in immediate emissions reductions.”

The declaration was signed by the following countries: Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The Tony deBrum Declaration (as supplied by Seas at Risk)

“Signatory States of this Declaration
reaffirm their commitment to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Paris
Agreement, namely holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C
above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C
above pre-industrial levels, and to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by
sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century,
confirm that international shipping, like all other sectors of human activity, must take urgent
action in consideration of these vital objectives for the future of the planet and of humanity,
recall the leading role of the International Maritime Organization in defining this action and
welcome, inter alia, the process undertaken by IMO to adopt, by 2018, an initial strategy for
reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships, and a revised strategy in 2023,
stress that the initial strategy must set a level of ambition for the sector that is compatible with
that of the Paris Agreement, including a peak on emissions in the short-term and then
reducing them to neutrality towards the second half of this century,
commit to support the design and implementation by IMO of policy measures that can have
an immediate effect to achieve emission reductions, and to promote the development of
important mid-to-longer term measures,
recall that the strategy must not compromise the achievement of climate objectives by
creating distortions of competition; therefore its provisions should equally apply to all ships
regardless of their flag,
consider, however, that the impacts of measures on States, in particular on LDCs and SIDS,
and their specific needs, have to be studied in advance and that disproportionate impacts on
specific States should be addressed.

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