The republic of the Marshall Islands has hit back at claims it is being both inflexible and unrealistic in its stance on shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions.
On Tuesday, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which is representing the world’s national shipowners’ associations and over 80% of the world merchant fleet at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 23) in Bonn this week, lambasted the Marshall Islands’s very aggressive emission cutting proposals.
ICS said via Twitter the “inflexible” and “unrealistic stance” of the Marshall Islands, both at the International Maritime Organization and in Bonn, risks consensus in addressing shipping’s stance on CO2.
No. The inflexible & unrealistic stance of Marshall Islands – both at IMO and in Bonn – risks impeding consensus to address shipping's CO2 https://t.co/rjjlTDM1tt
— ICS shipping (@shippingics) November 8, 2017
The Marshall Islands has led a clutch of Pacific island nations that are in danger of disappearing off the map thanks to rising seas in calling for the most sweeping shipping emission cuts. ICS has said this week that a 100% cut in shipping emissions by 2035 – as called for by the Marshall Islands – is “not possible”.
In a statement issued yesterday by the Marshall Islands’ ministry of foreign affairs, the tiny republic hit back, restating its position.
“The Marshall Islands speaks as one of the most climate vulnerable nations on Earth, and also as the world’s second largest shipping registry,” the statement read, also pointing out that the country is also greatly dependent on the shipping sector for food imports.
“In that capacity and context,” the statement continued, “we stress that ambitious climate action and sustainable growth of the shipping sector are both possible.”
The republic urged IMO to ensure ambitious measures are put in place from next spring, rather than waiting through to later deadlines in 2023.
“Relevant technologies and policy options exist to do that now. IMO must implement ambitious action well before 2023 in order to limit global temperature increases to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius,” the statement read. The Marshall Islands team said it was concerned with the limited negotiating time left to agree IMO’s initial strategy, and that member states were far from consensus.
“Disappointingly little progress was made in the IMO on this issue last month,” the Marshall Islands statement read.
With less than five months until IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) next convenes for a crucial meeting, the Marshall Islands stated member states must agree on an “ambitous” strategy consistent with the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit.
“We will not accept anything less as an outcome,” the statement concluded.
The foreign minister of the Marshall Islands, John Silk, waded into the ongoing debate in Bonn, stating on Twitter yesterday: ”[W]e will not compromise on our survival.” Silk added that if the IMO was to remain credible it must play its full part in reducing emissions.
The Marshall Islands is always constructive. Anyone who knew @TonydeBrum would know that. But we will not compromise on our survival. In the #ParisAgreement every country agreed to the 1.5°C limit. If the @IMOHQ is to be credible, it must play its full part in reducing emissions. pic.twitter.com/pTVvgr7TYb
— Minister John Silk (@MinisterSilk) November 9, 2017