World Agrees to Cut Shipping Emissions 50 Percent by 2050

Th is article discusses how the International Maritime Organization has agreed to shrink shipping’s climate impact, but Island states facing sea level rise say it’s still too weak.

The UN’s International Maritime Organization has approved the world’s first broad agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions from worldwide ocean shipping and said it hopes to phase them out entirely “as soon as possible in this century.”

The agency called the agreement, reached by countries on Friday, a first step and promised further action in the future. Some negotiators and observers said it was not yet strong enough to guarantee that shipping, a rapidly growing contributor to global warming, will come into line with the Paris climate agreement. the IMO called it a “pathway” in that direction.

The IMO called on shipping companies to reduce emissions by the year 2050 to 50 percent of their 2008 level, with emissions growth peaking as soon as possible. The organization is a specialized United Nations agency with 173 member states who cooperate on regulations governing the international industry, including setting pollution standards.

Even relatively modest first steps would require considerable changes in how cargo ships are built, fueled and operated. At present, ships run almost entirely on fossil fuels, generally the dirtiest grades of oil, and burn them inefficiently to boot.

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