The head of the United Nations, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, called on maritime nations to take action in reducing emissions from the shipping industry. Guterres made this appeal during a meeting of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, emphasizing the need for the industry to achieve net-zero emissions by the mid-century at the latest.
The shipping industry currently accounts for nearly 3% of global emissions, and addressing its environmental impact is crucial for achieving the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). Guterres urged delegates at the IMO meeting to agree on a new greenhouse gas strategy for shipping, which should include ambitious science-based targets starting in 2030. These targets should focus on both absolute emissions reductions and the adoption of clean fuels.
The IMO’s current target is for the shipping industry to reduce its emissions by at least 50% from 2008 to 2050. However, Guterres emphasized the importance of including all greenhouse gas emissions caused by the industry in the new targets. He also supported the idea of implementing a carbon price for shipping, which would involve a levy on emissions. The allocation of funds generated from this levy has been a subject of debate, with campaigners suggesting that it could support climate change mitigation efforts in poor nations, while the industry itself prefers investing in the development of clean technologies.
In May, it was revealed that the International Chamber of Shipping, a prominent industry group representing the majority of the world’s commercial fleet, had cautioned its member companies to carefully consider the implications before adopting stringent emissions reduction targets. This indicates a division of opinions within the industry regarding the extent and pace of emissions reductions.