Japan demands shipping set net zero targets

Japan, which boasts the world’s third largest merchant fleet, has had a volte-face in terms of its green shipping targets.

The Asian nation has often been castigated for its timid shipping environmental pledges at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). However, it has emerged today that the Japanese delegation to the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) gathering next month will back calls for shipping to become a net zero industry by 2050, far stricter targets than the current IMO stance which demands shipping slash its emissions by at least 50% compared to 2008 levels over the next 29 years.

The US was the first major shipping nation to make an absolute zero emissions call this April, something which has since been backed up by other countries including the UK.

In other noticeable government green pledges, just ahead of COP26, the major international climate summit, Australia, a major fuel exporter, has come out with its own net zero commitments by 2050.

Splash will be bringing readers regular updates from the MEPC meet-up next month as well as COP26.

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.


  1. Hi Sam – good to hear Japan is going to have consistency between its domestic and its IMO targets. Pity its only a net target, still short of what is needed for 1.5, which is of course why the Pacific is calling for a resolution on this at MEPC77. Net just means you can escape the necessary transition by buying your pollution and simply shifts the responsibility to another sector.

    Just to correct you on a critically important point. Both US and UK have committed to ABSOLUTE 100% reduction by 2050, for the US as announced by both Kerry and Biden and confirmed by their IMO delegation. Of course the difference between the two is that UK has agreed to support the Pacific call to resolve this at MEPC77 (as in now) while US wants to push it out to 2023 and the revised Strategy.

    looking forward to your coverage of COP

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