IMO agrees to cut 50% emissions by 2050

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted a highly anticipated climate change strategy for shipping. The strategy focuses on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, setting out a vision to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping and phase them out as soon as possible in this century.

The adopted strategy includes specific reference to align with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The initial strategy focuses on three issues:

1. Decline the carbon intensity of ships through implementation of further phases of the energy efficiency design index for new ships.
2. Reduce CO2 emissions per transport work with 40% by 2030, 70% by 2050 (compared with 2008)
3. To peak GHG emissions from international shipping as soon as possible and to reduce annual GHG emissions by at least 50% by 2050 (compared with 2008).

The initial strategy of these goals will be revised in 2023, but IMO members are hopeful that the reached agreement will be further strengthened when revised.

The agreement was not unanimous: the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia voted against the adoption of the strategy. However, there is a broad consensus on the issue of some major shipping countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and the EU.

Already there are several market initiatives of shippers pursuing a more sustainable ocean shipping transport. The agreement now gives shippers the opportunity to further push their CSR agenda on transport and have a roadmap on which ocean shipping lines can be held accountable for.