The shipping industry is navigating an ambitious path to climate reduction, but it will not be a smooth sailing 1.5°C

The shipping industry is navigating an ambitious path to climate reduction, but it will not be a smooth sailing 1.5°C

The 80th session of the Marine Protection Committee (MEPC 80) adopted a revised Greenhouse Gas Strategy that specifically considered climate mitigation targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

MEPC 80 has concluded its two-week negotiations at the International Maritime Organization in London, adopting one of its most progressive efforts yet to ensure it does its part to keep pace with the 1.5°C goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

Targets outlined in the revised strategy by more than 800 delegates from more than 170 countries include cutting emissions by at least 20%, striving for 30% by 2030, 80% by 2040, and reaching net zero “by or about 2050.” general”.

This is the most ambitious step Cargo has taken in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions since adopting its initial strategy seven years ago. Adoption of the revised strategy is significant in an industry that is the seventh largest polluter in the world.

A study by the Marine Environment Protection Committee in 2020, cited in the final text of the revised strategy, stated that industry accounts for 2.89% of anthropogenic emissions, with that figure likely to account for between 90% and 130% of 2008 emissions by 2050.

Some developing countries, particularly those in South America, have expressed strong opposition to the ambitious language of decarbonization because financing for a just transition in the shipping industry was not on the agenda for much discussion at the committee meeting.

South Africa has also joined some developing countries, citing concerns about the economic impact that climate ambitions such as a carbon tax could have on the economies of countries like South Africa. SA has, however, pledged its support for the revised strategy.

Read more at The Daily Maverick: South Africa supports the decarbonization of the shipping industry – in half-hearted fashion

“South Africa hereby reiterates its support for the adoption of the draft IMO Greenhouse Gas Strategy (with minor amendments to Annex 2), and not only indicates that its development takes into account the principles of just and equitable transition, recognizing the special circumstances of developing countries, small island developing states [Small Islands and Developing States] and least developed countries [Less Developed Countries]I am confident, however, that we will also see tangible evidence that these principles do indeed form an integral part of the successful implementation of the strategy,” South Africa said at the closing plenary of the conference.

Although the final text does not explicitly explain how developing countries and small islands can help ensure this transition, there is recognition that the impact must be taken into account for these countries.

Argentina has expressed its strong objection to a global carbon tax, saying it is in line with the concerns of other developing countries. The South American country said that while it supports decarbonization measures to achieve the desired levels of ambition, it is concerned that a carbon tax will harm food security as it will have an impact on food prices, particularly in developing countries far from its import markets. . India also expressed serious concerns about the “unrealistic” targets in the revised strategy.

With climate reduction targets set, the next commission – MEPC 81 – in April 2024 will see the formation of a steering committee that will decide on the range of actions that need to be taken to reach the set targets.

It was “far from smooth sailing at the IMO this week… however, member states have now come together to send a strong signal to the shipping sector,” said Dr Alison Shaw, policy lead at the university’s Maritime Advisory Services.

“While the IMO’s 2023 Greenhouse Gas Strategy is clearly not aligned with a 1.5°C trajectory, it sets projections for reductions by 2030 and 2040, for the adoption of global measures, and foresees a just and equitable transition.

“The strength of the strategy now depends on both the response of the sector and the prospective development of global measures by Member States, both of which should guide the drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.” DM

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