The shipping regulator misses the 1.5°C climate target Ship’s crew

By Jack Wittels (Bloomberg) —

According to industry experts, the international shipping regulator has set non-binding emissions targets that are inconsistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The International Maritime Organization has adopted a net-zero target for 2050 with tentative “checkpoints” by 2030 and 2040. If the new strategy is followed, shipping’s emissions will not be cut fast enough to bring the industry’s pollution into line with the Paris Agreement’s ambitious target of limiting global warming to 1.5C, the experts said .

“This agreement is not consistent with international shipping, which is doing its part to limit global warming to 1.5C,” said Bryan Comer, director of the ocean program at the International Council on Clean Transportation, a nonprofit organization.

IMO’s Revised Greenhouse Gas Strategy for Shipping: Details and Responses

Shipping transports more than 80% of world trade and emits more CO2 into the atmosphere every year than Germany. The new targets represent a significant improvement on the IMO’s previous target for 2050 of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by just 50% compared to 2008 levels.

The IMO talks, which are concluding today, took place in a week that has seen global temperature records being broken several times.

“While the IMO 2023 GHG Strategy is not clearly aligned with a 1.5 degree path, it does set expectations for reductions by 2030 and 2040,” said Alison Shaw, University College London Energy Institute research associate and policy maker Head at the consulting company University Maritime Advisory Services.

The Paris Agreement, signed in 2015, pledges to limit global mean temperature rises to “well below” 2°C, while making efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

According to the IMO’s new plan, international shipping will exceed its current share of the global 1.5C carbon budget by around 2032 estimates from the ICCT. However, it will not exceed the “well below” 2C carbon budget, interpreted as 1.7C, the ICCT said.

“More alignment with the Paris Agreement, with shipping taking its fair share, would require more gradual reductions in emissions, reaching a 45% reduction in 2030,” said Bo Cerup-Simonsen, CEO of Maersk Mc- Kinney Moller Center for Zero Carbon Shipping, a non-profit organization. “Nonetheless, we believe this strategy is a big step in the right direction.”

The technical details
Below you will find the main parts of the adopted text
“Achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by or around 2050, taking into account different national circumstances”
“Adopt technologies, fuels and/or energy sources that emit zero or almost zero greenhouse gas emissions to account for at least 5%, and a target of 10%, of the energy consumption of international shipping by 2030”
“Indicative Control Points” to “reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 20% with a target of reaching 30% by 2030 compared to 2008” “to reduce total annual greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping by at least 70% to reduce”, aim for 80% by 2040 compared to 2008”

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

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