Pacific and European countries demand shipping makes tough CO2 cuts

A coalition of Pacific Island and European countries have agreed to work together to ensure the UN’s International Maritime Organization delivers an ambitious climate deal for shipping.

Ministers meeting in Tonga last week formally endorsed the work of a “High Ambition Coalition for shipping” ahead of IMO negotiations in London next month.

The group – which includes the Marshall Islands, Tuvalu, Tonga, Germany, France and Denmark – intends to ensure IMO provides its contribution towards the Paris Agreement goal of guarding temperatures to well below 2 degrees and aiming for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In a new paper submitted to the IMO, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) and Solomon Islands said an overall target for shipping’s emission reductions be consistent with a ‘fair share’ of the global burden of reductions necessary to achieve a target of no more than 1.5 degree Celsius temperature increase.

Mike Halferty, Marshall Islands’ minister of transportation and communication, commented: “The science is clear – without immediate and rapid decarbonisation of this major and growing source of GHG, 1.5 degree stabilization will not be achieved. RMI is host to the world’s second largest shipping registry. Many of our island neighbours here today also host registries of global significance. This means not only our islands have a unique responsibility to influence the ambition of the IMO, many of our government’s revenues are closely tied to a well-managed decarbonisation of the international shipping industry. We are working with our registry, to advance the Pacific position and we invite our neighbours who find themselves in the same situation to do the same.”

Nicolas Udrea, negotiator for France on GHG at IMO, said: “IMO has in the past been very slow, but a new hope for progress on GHG was initiated in 2015, when the government of the Marshall Islands decided to overcome its registry, in defence of its people, and call on IMO to set an ambitious target”.

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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