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  • World leaders demand shipping emissions cuts under countries’ Paris climate commitments

    Some 35 world leaders have called for shipping emissions to be part of every country’s emissions reductions commitments under the Paris climate agreement.[1] Sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) welcomed the leaders’ recognition of the need for economy-wide action, as mandated by the 2015 accord, with shipping being a key sector – responsible for around 3% of global CO2 emissions.

    The leaders also called for a cap on shipping CO2, reaching zero emissions towards the mid-century, to be agreed at the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The IMO was first mandated in 1997 to address international ship emissions and has yet to deliver any meaningful results. [2] Two years after Paris, it is still struggling to agree an interim strategy. At the latest meeting, in October, to develop such a strategy by 2018, even the urgency of delivering reductions in the short term was hotly disputed.

    In a sign of continuing EU frustration at the slow pace, EU governments and the European Parliament agreed last month that Europe should act regionally on shipping emissions from 2023 if the IMO fails to deliver effective global measures by then. Such thoughts were echoed at yesterday’s One Planet summit in Paris, with delegations calling for ship emissions to be included in state commitments – also referred to as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – under the Paris agreement.

    Lucy Gilliam, shipping and aviation officer at T&E, said: “This should fire up the discussions on immediate measures – such as operational speed reduction for ships – and agreeing on an emission reduction target to meet the 1.5ºC warming limit. The shipping sector cannot be exempt from taking its fair share of action to tackle climate change.”

    Notes to editors:

    [1] At the One Planet summit in Paris, the declaration, Amplifier le financement de l’adaptation et de la résilience au changement climatique, was signed on behalf of: Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Comoros, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.

    [2] The 35 countries also signed the ‘Tony De Brum’ declaration: