Declaration on shipping emissions signed by 35 nations in Paris

Shipping proved a central plank of discussion at the Emmanuel Macron convened One Planet climate summit in Paris yesterday.

The Tony De Brum declaration was launched on Tuesday, named after a politician from the Marshall Islands who fought hard to get shipping emission regulations in place before he died earlier this year. The declaration states shipping must set a level of ambition for the sector that is compatible with that of the Paris Agreement, including a peak on emissions in the short-term and then reducing them to neutrality towards the second half of this century.

The declaration was signed by 35 countries including some signatories such as Chile who have been seen to have held up the emissions debate at the IMO in recent months.

“This is a welcome commitment to deliver a climate deal for the shipping sector that is ambitious and in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said John Maggs from NGO Seas At Risk. “It’s significant that EU member states have been joined by Mexico, Chile, and others to signal the importance of getting next year’s IMO carbon cutting agreement right. As the declaration makes clear, time is running out for IMO and the shipping industry to deliver a fair contribution to tackling the climate crisis. A 2018 deal in line with limiting warming to below 1.5C requires a strong long term decarbonisation goal and short-term measures, like speed reduction, that will result in immediate emissions reductions.”

IMO member states are set to meet in April to thrash out a deal to cut shipping’s emissions.

Simon Bennett, director of policy and external relations at the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), commented: “ICS welcomes the fact governments recognise that IMO is the only forum which can agree a suitably ambitious CO2 reduction strategy for international shipping, and the vital need for IMO member states to deliver at the critical MEPC meeting next April. But it’s important that the signatories recognise that this a political negotiation at IMO which requires them to understand the legitimate concerns of emerging economies about the potential impacts on trade and their continuing economic development, consistent with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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