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Greenhouse Gases: International Shipping

Volume 639: debated on Tuesday 17 April 2018

On 13 April the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) agreed a comprehensive strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from international shipping. The United Kingdom, led by the Department for Transport, played a leading role in the negotiations, pushing for an ambitious and credible outcome that would enable shipping to play its part in meeting the Paris agreement temperature goals.

The strategy is a major milestone for the shipping industry, which is now the first global sector to have set an absolute emissions reduction target.

The strategy includes:

A commitment to phase out GHGs from international shipping as soon as possible during this century;

A target of at least 50% reduction, and an aim for 100% reduction, in total GHG emissions from shipping by 2050;

A target of at least a 40% improvement in carbon intensity of ships by 2030, pursuing efforts towards 70% in 2050; and

A list of possible short, mid and long-term emission reduction measures with a commitment to develop a work-plan for implementation to deliver emission reductions before 2023.

The United Kingdom was at the forefront of a coalition of high ambition countries working with other member states, industry and non-governmental organisations to agree ambitious quantified emission reduction targets for the sector.

Countries will now, through the IMO, commence work on implementing the strategy. The UK, through the Department for Transport, will continue to work with other IMO member states, industry and civil society to establish what practical and technical steps need to be taken to deliver the emission reduction targets. A revised version of the strategy is due to be adopted in 2023.