Shipping climate talks hit heavy weather as UN agency’s credibility tested

T&E statement following IMO intersessional meeting on ship GHG reduction strategy. The IMO’s environment committee begins climate talks on Monday (9 April)

The first difficult week of talks in London on an interim greenhouse gas strategy for shipping saw little progress towards a final outcome with some deep divisions and much work remaining, sustainable transport group Transport & Environment (T&E) has said. EU states and a ‘high ambition’ coalition called for countries meeting at the International Maritime Organisation to agree emissions reduction targets that are compatible with the Paris agreement. But progress was blocked by a vocal minority composed of developing and flag states.

Faig Abbasov, shipping policy officer at T&E, said: “Progress next week will require significant concessions from all sides and there is a danger that this could prevent agreement on a meaningful and ambitious outcome. The IMO faces one of its toughest tests to prove it’s relevant to the climate process and that it’s capable of delivering solutions to address shipping’s climate impact.”

Bill Hemmings, shipping director at T&E, said: “A determined minority are blocking ambition on capping emissions and defining a Paris-credible decarbonisation pathway. These moves are being portrayed as unachievable and a cap on world trade despite scientific evidence to the contrary being presented.”

T&E said that those opposing an ambitious climate target for the shipping sector are banking on the need for consensus to ensure that the outcome will kill all ambition.

Bill Hemmings concluded: “Clear warnings from delegates from climate-vulnerable South Pacific nations that effective IMO action is a prerequisite for their countries’ survival fell on deaf ears. There is a danger that calls for differentiated action and to buy time will see off any likelihood of urgent action.”


Contact the press team

Nico Muzi
Communications Director
+32 (0)484 27 87 91 
nico.muzi@transportenvironment.org

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